HE opens public consultation into Lower Thames Crossing

Highways England has opened an eight-week community impact consultation giving communities near the proposed Lower Thames Crossing to give their views about the project.

It also details of changes made to the project since the last consultation in 2020, and a summary of how the feedback has been used in developing the scheme.

Highways England says better access to jobs, two new public parks, and 46km of new and improved public paths feature in revised proposals. The public can visit a dedicated consultation website that contains new images of the proposed road, three new fly-throughs showing it before, during and after construction, and an updated interactive map. A range of consultation documents have also been published, including summaries that provide an unprecedented level of information tailored to each local community affected by the project.

It has released this video about how the project may look in the future:

The documents include details of:

  • Better access to existing jobs for Gravesham, Thurrock and Havering as improved journey times would bring over 400,000 more jobs within a 60-minute commute, when the new crossing is open for traffic
  • Two new public parks that would remove the need for over 470,000 HGV movements on local roads by beneficially reusing excavated material:
  • Chalk Park: a 38-hectare park near Gravesend
  • Tilbury Fields: a 48-hectare park overlooking the Thames in Thurrock
  • Over 260 hectares of new woodland – in addition to the new 100-hectare community woodland being created in partnership with Forestry England, near Great Warley in Brentwood
  • 46km of new and improved footpaths, bridleways, and cycle routes, as well as 120% more hedgerows, 40% more ponds, 10% more ditches, and seven new green bridges
  • The proposed locations of the construction and utility compounds, and temporary construction roads
  • A summary of the predicted impact of the project during construction and operation on topics ranging from local traffic, public transport and cycle paths to air quality, noise and vibration

“The Lower Thames Crossing is the most ambitious road scheme in a generation – the new, reliable connection would improve access to hundreds of thousands of additional jobs, offer new opportunities for local businesses, and create and connect new green spaces that are so important for wildlife and local communities,” said Matt Palmer, Executive Director for Lower Thames Crossing. “The feedback has been crucial in helping us design a scheme that brings the most benefit to local communities whilst reducing its impact. This further consultation is another opportunity for people to have their say before we submit our planning application at the end of the year. I would like to thank everyone in advance for once again giving us their time and feedback.”

Highways England says the Lower Thames Crossing would almost double road capacity between Kent, Thurrock, Havering and Essex, bringing “many benefits and new opportunities to those living and working there”. It says it would ease congestion and improve air quality on the Dartford Crossing by diverting over 13 million vehicles away every year. It would help level up regions across the southeast by creating an additional, reliable connection between people, jobs, homes, and businesses, as well as support the region’s recovery from Covid by employing over 22,000 people during construction.

(Picture – Highways England)

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