National Highways has begun a further round of consultation on small changes being proposed to the design of the Lower Thames Crossing, which will result in changes to its submitted DCO Application.
The design of the new road connecting Kent, Thurrock and Havering via a tunnel under the Thames has been shaped by feedback from the local community and stakeholders. National Highways says it has continued to engage with stakeholders and landowners since the Development Consent Order application was submitted last year to find opportunities to reduce the impact and maximise the benefit to local communities.
The minor refinement consultation provides an opportunity for the public to share their views on a small number of changes that would improve the design of the project and respond to stakeholder feedback including reducing the land needed for Nitrogen Deposition compensation at Blue Bell Hill and Burham and updating plans for utility works at East Tilbury to reduce the amount of land needed.
Information is also being provided on how the tunnels beneath the River Thames could be constructed. These minor, localised refinements result in minimal change to the impacts reported in the Development Consent Order application.
Matt Palmer, Executive Director for the Lower Thames Crossing, said: “We’re committed to continuing to work with our stakeholders and local community to maximise the benefits of this much-needed new crossing. These latest changes improve the design of the Lower Thames Crossing and allow us to reduce the land we need to build and operate it. I would like to thank you in advance for giving us your feedback.”
The four-week consultation will run from Wednesday 17 May to 23.59 Monday 19 June 2023. People will be able to respond to the consultation by completing an online survey, completing a paper form or by email. National Highways is carrying out this consultation now so that improvements to the design, and the way we’ll build the road, can be included in the independent examination of the proposals that is due to begin on 20 June.
Following the consultation, National Highways will make a formal submission to the Planning Inspectorate to make a change to the application. The Planning Inspectorate will then confirm if the changes have been accepted into the examination process or not. If they are accepted they will be examined alongside the rest of the application.
National Highways submitted an application for a Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate late last year and the planning process is currently in the pre-examination phase. The Planning Inspectorate has confirmed that the examination period will start on 20 June and finish on 20 December. A decision is expected by summer 2024.
(Picture – National Highways)