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Dartford MP says building new crossing at Dartford is 'folly'

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson described another Thames crossing at Dartford as “folly” during a debate in Parliament.

During the debate on Transport Infrastructure in Westminster Hall, Mr Johnson urged the roads minister not to build another Thames crossing in Dartford.

Mr Johnson said: “I impress upon him the folly of building another Thames crossing next to the existing crossing, which is the so-called option A.

"If there were any difficulties on the M25, either in Essex or in Kent, they would simply lead to the same amount of congestion and possibly more congestion.

“Building a crossing further down the Thames estuary surely has to be the best alternative for motorists.”

The booths will be removed this weekend. Picture: Steve Crispe
The booths will be removed this weekend. Picture: Steve Crispe

Roads Minister Robert Goodwill MP said the Dartford-Thurrock river crossing is a vital transport link and further advice is being obtained to assist in weighing up the merits of alternative location options, which are referred to as options A and C.

Option A is next to the existing crossing and Option C is east of Gravesend.

Mr Goodwill said he would consider the Dartford MPs points and that a further announcement on the options would be made in the “very near future.”

After the debate Mr Johnson said: “Dartford has had enough of river crossings. This is the point I have made to the Prime Minister and The Department of Transport.

"We should not have another crossing in Dartford.

“We are expecting a garden city to be built in Ebbsfleet, with some 15,000 new homes; a proposal for a new Paramount theme park; and the expansion of Bluewater, therefore the motorist needs an alternative route across the Thames which will not be provided by another crossing next to the existing one."

Gareth Johnson
Gareth Johnson

Meanwhile, a Parliamentary committee is to examine evidence for river crossings across the UK.

It is looking at the planning, financing and regenerative effects of crossings.

Both Gravesham and Dartford councils say they have not been invited to take part but said they had sent strongly worded submissions in regards to where to place the Lower Thames Crossing.

Dartford council leader Jeremy Kite said it was unlikely anything from the inquiry would sway a decision at this late stage.

Thurrock Council, which will get the other end of the crossing for either Option A or C, will provide evidence to the Transport Committee inquiry.

Thurrock leader Cllr John Kent said: “We’ve been saying for years that the effects of free-flow tolls should be looked at very carefully before deciding on a new crossing.”

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