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New images and 'fly-through' video show proposed changes to Lower Thames Crossing plan


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New images and a video have been released by highways planners in a drive to show improvements to the Lower Thames Crossing scheme.

The revised plans from Highways England come nine months after the original planning application was shelved, and mark the start of a new round of public consultation on the proposed 14-mile route between Kent and Essex.

Critics however remained fixed in opposition to the plan, with Gravesham council stating today it remains "opposed to the principle" of the project to the east of Gravesend.

New elements of the £8.2 billion scheme are designed to reduce the impact of the crossing on surrounding communities and the environment.

According to Highways England those new elements include "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."

They also stress the inclusion of Chalk Park, a 38-hectare park near Gravesend, and Tilbury Fields, a 48-hectare park overlooking the Thames in Thurrock.

Furthermore they say the scheme will now offer 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.

The proposed view looking north from the A2 to the Lower Thames Crossing. Image from Highways England
The proposed view looking north from the A2 to the Lower Thames Crossing. Image from Highways England

New information included in the eight-week consultation also includes proposed locations of the construction and utility compounds, and temporary construction roads, and a summary of the predicted impact of the project during and after construction.

Members of 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.

Matt Palmer, Executive Director for Lower Thames Crossing, said: “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.

“The feedback has been crucial in helping us design a scheme that brings the most benefit to local communities while 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.”

Cllr John Burden, Leader of Gravesham Borough Council, said the council's stance on the project had not changed, but that a formal response would be submitted in due course.

The green bridge proposed at Thong Lane. Image from Highways England
The green bridge proposed at Thong Lane. Image from Highways England

He said: “We remain opposed to the principle of the construction of the Lower Thames Crossing to the east of Gravesend while working hard with our neighbours in Essex and East London to secure the best outcomes for our residents, particularly those who will be directly affected in the event the project goes ahead.

“It is thanks to the hard work of officers and members from Gravesham, Thurrock Council and the London Borough of Havering that Highways England was required to go away and think again having submitted its original Development Consent Order late last year.

“Together we voiced fundamental concerns over the adequacy of the public consultation conducted by Highways England last year.

“That consultation was sadly lacking in information in many crucial areas, including traffic modelling and emissions – crucial if local authorities such as ourselves are to have any chance of meeting carbon neutral targets.

“Our officers are studying the details contained in this latest round of consultation to determine whether sufficient information has now been made available to allow us to form a constructive response to the proposals.

An artist's impression of the view near Claylane Wood east of Gravesend. Image from Highways England
An artist's impression of the view near Claylane Wood east of Gravesend. Image from Highways England

“Once our formal response has been agreed, we will share it with local residents - who have the most to lose from this proposal.”

When the consultation has closed Highways England will analyse the new responses before submitting an application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) later this year. The consent process can take up to 18 months and if given the green light, construction is expected to start in 2024 with the road opening between 2029 and 2030.

Full details of the consultation are available at www.highwaysengland.co.uk/ltcconsultation

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