London toll roads: Where are the toll roads around the capital, and how much do they cost?
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Motorists who have spent time driving across the UK have likely come across toll roads at some point. From the Humber Bridge near Hull to the Tamar Bridge on the south coast, there are a total of 23 located across the country.
Those driving through toll roads are obliged to pay a fee to continue. The principle is that the charge goes towards maintenance and costs, and helps fund future improvements.
But what toll roads are there around London, and are there discussions for any additional charges?
Located east of the capital, connecting Kent and Essex over the River Thames, the Dartford Crossing is nonetheless used by many Londoners travelling between the two counties.
It is also currently the only toll road situated around the city, with none located within London itself.
The crossing, which consists of two bored tunnels and the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, is tolled using an automatic numberplate recognition charging scheme known as the Dart Charge.
Drivers using the crossing must pay the charge by midnight the day after their journey, or risk being issued a penalty charge notice (PCN).
Anyone travelling using a motorcycle, moped or quad bike, or who gets free UK vehicle tax because of a disability, are exempt. All other drivers using the crossing between 6am and 10pm must pay the fee.
The cost of the charge varies depending on the vehicle driven.
Motorcycles, mopeds and quad bikes go free. Cars, motorhomes and any minibuses with nine or less seats cost £2.50, or £2 with an account.
For buses, coaches, vans and other goods vehicles with two axles it costs £3, or £2.63 with an account, and either £6 or £5.19 for those with more than two.
Travellers with a disability do not have to pay, and there are also local resident discounts, costing either £20 a year to use the crossing as often as you want, or £10 for 50 crossings, plus 50p for each additional crossing.
Are there any other toll roads being discussed?
The major new toll road currently under construction in London is the Silvertown Tunnel.
Earmarked to be opened in 2025, the tunnel will connect the Greenwich peninsula to the Royal Docks in Newham. Intended to ease congestion on the nearby Blackwall Tunnel, campaigners argue it will result in thousands more vehicles driving through some of London’s most polluted areas.
Once the Silvertown Tunnel is completed, a toll is also due to be introduced on the Blackwall Tunnel. Transport for London (TfL) has said the exact charge for using both routes will be decided closer to the opening date.
Hammersmith Bridge in west London is another crossing which may be tolled at some point in the future.
The bridge is currently only open to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic, with motorists unable to use the crossing since 2020 due to micro-fractures in its structure.
It is estimated that repairs of the Grade-II listed bridge will cost between £141 million and £163m, with the cost to be split between TfL, the Department for Transport, and Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
According to a council webpage on the project, it has “made it clear we can only raise that amount of money via a road user charge or toll”.