FREE-flow tolls at the Dartford crossing will not cancel out the need for a new Lower Thames crossing, the transport minister said.

Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price met with minister Robert Goodwill recently to discuss the free-flow tolling scheme, which is being introduced at the current river crossing in October.

The move will see the crossing’s toll booths removed, with charges being collected electronically.

After their meeting Ms Doyle-Price hailed the introduction of free-flow tolling, but said Mr Goodwill had reiterated the need for a new crossing, in spite of the free-flow measures being introduced.

The crossing is currently operating beyond capacity and although free-flow is expected to increase capacity overall, it will still be over-capacity at peak times.

One of the opposing arguments to a new Lower Thames Crossing is that the government should wait to see the effects if free flow, before making a decision on a new crossing.

The government is currently pondering over option A, which would see a new crossing next to the current one and option C, which would land a new crossing between Port of Tilbury and Coalhouse Fort.

Ms Doyle-Price said: "Those who pretend the introduction of free flow will solve all our traffic problems are kidding themselves and ducking the question as to where a new Lower Thames crossing should be sited.

"The failure by Thurrock Council to engage in this debate beyond saying 'none of the above' has meant that everyone else can trample all over us."