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Dartford sale may increase M25 charges

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Toll charges on a section of London's M25 could be set to rise, adding more costs onto the high car insurance premiums paid by commuters.

The government, which is already accused of reneging on a promise to end the toll once the crossing was paid for, is considering selling the facility to raise money for public services.

The bridge and tunnel were paid for in 2002, but by 2003 new legislation was created which changed the fee to a charge, rather than a toll, on condition that the cash was spent on "transport improvements which will affect motorists".

The current fee is £1.50 for cars between 6am and 10pm, with the largest lorries paying £3.70. Situated on the Essex-Kent border section of the M25, the crossing consists of two dual-lane northbound road tunnels and the towering four-lane southbound Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, which opened in 1991.

More than 50 million vehicles use the crossing each year - an average of around 145,000 vehicles a day. The record day for the crossing was July 23, 2004 when nearly 182,000 vehicles used it.

© Press Association 2009