A spokesperson for DartCros has confirmed that engineers are currently working ‘flat out’ to clear blockages in both of the Dartford Tunnels – the disruption has led to traffic backing up for 20 miles into Kent.
According to a source at the scene, both tunnels are currently out of action after rare Crested Higgin Pigeons built nests in two key areas – the species is currently protected by the Endangered Species Act of 1984.
DartCros Liaison Officer Wendy House said: ‘By law we can only encourage the Crested Higgin Pigeons to leave under their own free will – a senior member of the UK Ornithological Enforcement Agency has told us that any attempt to interfere with their natural habitat could be a criminal offence due to the distress that it may cause.’
‘As this particular breed of pigeon is attracted to confined spaces and diesel fumes, we regularly check both tunnels for nests and there has never been a problem until today.’
‘Unfortunately, the autumn in their native Denmark has been warmer than usual, and this has led them to migrate out of character across the North Sea and into the Thames Estuary. We have taken a cat down there but he can’t get closer than 50 feet away.’
We asked Mrs House about how the crossing’s management are reacting to the problems – she confirmed that traffic across the bridge is flowing in both directions.
She added: ‘We are using the QE2 bridge in ten-minute shifts with alternating directions, with every third shift reserved for dangerous vehicles including petrol tankers, wide loads and Volvos. If possible, motorists should try and seek an alternative route across the Thames, you know that viable option that clearly must exist somewhere.’
‘In every instance it would be useful for drivers to ask themselves whether or not their journey is really necessary. It is a well-known fact that more and more people are using the Dartford Crossing as a leisure pursuit every week.’