Fresh consultation on Lower Thames Crossing

A new five-week consultation on the proposed £82billion Lower Thames Crossing has been launched as changes to the original plans were announced.

The controversial project aims to link Kent with Essex via two new 2.5 mile tunnels under the Thames.

The crossing is aimed at easing traffic on the Dartford Crossing, but there are concerns over pollution and loss of green belt land.

The consultation launched at midnight and includes replacing an existing sliproad with a new link from the Orsett Cock roundabout to the A1089 in Thurrock to “reduce traffic impacts on some local roads”.

Campaigners from the Lower Thames Crossing Action group believe the link, via Conways Road and Rectory Road, will have the opposite effect on Orsett Village and will most likely include HGV traffic from Tilbury Docks.

Other changes include the design of a new public park, Tilbury Fields, on the north bank of the Thames in Thurrock.

Plans also include a new footbridge over the A127 in Havering and improvements to pathways for walkers, cyclists and horse riders including better bridleway connections around the A2 junction and the A226 in Gravesham

Rob Gledhill, leader of Thurrock Council, said: “Decisions that are made today will affect the people of Thurrock for generations to come.

“National Highways have yet to offer enough evidence or assurances to convince us the Lower Thames Crossing, under its current proposals, will offer true benefits to the people of Thurrock.

“To the contrary, we have real concerns it will have a detrimental effect on our air quality and noise levels, will actually increase congestion and issues accessing our local roads, and will led to the decimation of some of our beloved green places and spaces.

Matt Palmer, executive director for the Lower Thames Crossing, said: “There is a pressing need to tackle congestion at the Dartford Crossing which causes delays and unreliable journeys for tens of thousands of people every day.

“The Lower Thames Crossing will be a vital piece of the UK’s transport infrastructure, not only by providing a reliable alternative to Dartford, but by driving the economy by bringing people closer to jobs and businesses closer to their customers.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter