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TGKP responds to Lower Thames Crossing consultation

The Thames Gateway Kent Partnership (TGKP) believes that the Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) is vital for North Kent’s future prosperity, but that Highways England should do more to ensure that economic benefits of the project are maximised and the adverse environmental and community impacts are minimised. 

In responding to the public consultation, TGKP emphasises the need for other improvements across Kent and Medway’s road network to ensure that the benefits LTC brings are not undermined by weaknesses elsewhere.

TGKP strongly supports the LTC in principle, but we have concerns about the proposals. We are urging Highways England to take these into account as they finalise plans for the scheme:

  • the over-complicated junction with the A2, which would have significant adverse environmental impacts as well as impairing access from East Gravesend to the A2/M2;
  • a reliance on traffic modelling that ignores Government projections of local housing need, seriously under-estimating likely residential and commercial growth across the Thames Estuary over the ‘lifetime’ of the LTC; and
  • Poor connectivity between the LTC and major roads serving Thurrock, reducing the scope for economic benefits and increased commercial links between Kent and Essex.

A long-term solution to the problems at the Dartford crossing is crucial to ensure a resilient highway network between the Channel Ports, the Midlands and the North. But the solution also needs to work for residents and businesses in Kent and Essex. The latest proposals do little to support economic growth and new opportunities for those communities most directly affected. 

We want Highways England to work more closely with us to improve the proposed connections with local networks. We would like Highways England to commit to the investments needed elsewhere on Kent and Medway’s roads network – such as Junctions 5 and 7 of the M2, the A2 between Lydden and Port of Dover and the A229 link between the M20 and M2 – where existing problems already negatively impact on growth in the county.

In responding to the consultation, TGKP’s Chief Executive Matthew Norwell said:

“We welcome these proposals and the opportunity to respond. Upgrading the road network is essential to realising our ambitions for North Kent, and to the wider growth potential of the area highlighted by the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission.

“This is a once-in-a-generation investment which we need to get right. We should not leave loose ends for future generations to fix. 

“The LTC is just one of a number of investments needed to keep Kent & Medway’s roads moving. Without them, we simply won’t see the benefits from the LTC: the problems currently at Dartford will just move to the next weakest link in the network. We want to work with Highways England to ensure that this unique opportunity is delivered quickly, maximising the economic and transport benefits to north Kent and minimising its environmental impact.” 

You can read or download TGKP’s full response to the LTC consultation here.