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Debate over new Lower Thames Crossing in Dartford or Gravesend hears government will not be rushed into decision

16 January 2014
by Thom Morris

The transport minister Robert Goodwill has said the government will not be rushed into making an announcement on where the new Lower Thames Crossing will go.

During a debate in Westminster Hall, Essex Conservative MP Jackie Doyle-Price said: “There are some people that think removing the barriers will alleviate the need for a new crossing but I think that’s wrong and I think that’s short-termism.

“I feel we need two new crossings in London and another further down stream than the options before us today.”

Dartford crossing tolls

Dartford crossing tolls

Ms Doyle-Price revealed that the Highways Agency preferred option A which would see a new crossing next to the existing crossing, something Dartford MP Gareth Johnson said would not help the situation.

Ms Doyle-Price also said after discussions with Vopak, which stores petrol and gas at the West Thurrock terminal, she had learnt they would consider closing should option A be chosen.

She was also against plans to go for option C, east of Gravesend.

She encouraged the government to look again at options D and E – Option D providing an M2 link to Canvey Island and Option E, an Isle of Grain link to east of Southend.

Transport minister Robert Goodwill said the previously dropped options would take “relatively little” traffic away, reducing the numbers by about 5%.

He concluded by saying: “This decision is not to be rushed. We will make an announcement as soon as possible. ”

From Octo­ber, motorists will no longer stop at the cross­ing bar­ri­ers to pay the charge, instead pay­ment will be made online, via text, on the phone, or in shops.

The penalty charge will be £70, dis­counted to £35 if paid within 14 days.

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