Published: 08:00, 06 November 2017
Almost 2,000 people have signed a petition backing a call to ban oversized or hazardous goods lorries from using the Dartford Crossing.
Andrew Baxter, managing director of haulage firm Europa Worldwide, told the Messenger last month he wanted to send the vehicles the other way around the M25, ending the need for convoys to escort them through the tunnel when travelling from Kent to Essex.
He believes it would cut congestion by two-and-a-half hours each day and has launched a Stop the Convoys campaign.
Some hit back at the idea but Mr Baxter is pleased to have started a conversation on the issue.
“If nothing else we set out to spark a debate about this and raise awareness of the issue, which we’ve achieved, and we’ve seen that the congestion at the tunnel is a hot topic for many people,” he said.
“We’re a transport company and we operate hazardous goods vehicles ourselves. We have no interest in harming our industry.
“Ultimately though, it boils down to what is better for the 99% of motorists using the tunnel and the huge inconvenience they suffer because of the other 1%.
“Waiting another eight years for the government’s solution doesn’t benefit the majority of road users in the meantime.”
Not all agreed with the idea.
Phil Bartholomew runs his own haulage company in Tunstall, near Sittingbourne, which moves wide loads like bulldozers, cabins and heavy plant machinery.
He said last month: “For us to go from Kent to Thurrock, which would normally take 45 minutes, would take us two hours.
“It would be a lot of cost and I don’t think there’s a lot of customers that would want to pay that.
“I can’t see that it would ever work.
“We cannot go the long way around the M25. It’s just going to kill the industry.”
However, people from Cornwall to Scarborough and the Isle of Wight to Dumfriesshire have supported the cause by signing the online petition.
You can find it at stoptheconvoys.com.
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