The £8.2 billion Lower Thames Crossing (LTC), billed as the “largest road scheme in a generation” has been blasted in a letter [1] to the Treasury by Cllr Gledhill, Leader of Thurrock Council [2]. The letter, published on the last day of the latest consultation on the LTC [3], highlights how the scheme fails to provide any real benefits and little relief for the Dartford Crossing. The letter further undermines National Highways’ credibility after its disastrous management of the Historical Railways Estate [4] and implementation of the Smart Motorways programme. It highlights the failure to support public transport as just one of over 400 issues that remain outstanding between National Highways and the Council.

In the letter, Cllr Gledhill states that there is “substantial and growing evidence to suggest that the current scheme is at risk as it will fail to provide value for money”. He highlights that with all the changes that have taken place, there is a need to review alternatives to the scheme. He concludes that “The scheme cannot therefore be justified in economic or environmental terms”.

Chris Todd, Director of Transport Action Network [5] said:

“This is National Highways second flagship scheme [6] to run into serious difficulties. Its credibility is now on the line as the case for the Lower Thames Crossing looks increasingly untenable. The money earmarked for this dinosaur scheme should be repurposed to deliver urgent cuts in carbon emissions through investment in public transport.”

Laura Blake, Chair of the Thames Crossing Action Group [7] said:

“The Lower Thames Crossing fails to meet its objectives by not relieving congestion on the Dartford Crossing, whilst increasing air pollution and carbon emissions throughout the area. It’s time for the Treasury to call time on this outdated scheme”

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[1] The letter from Leader of Thurrock Council Cllr Rob Gledhill to Simon Clarke MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury is on the Thurrock Council website.

[2] Thurrock Council have also set up a website explaining their opposition to the scheme in which they say “current LTC data suggests that traffic using the Dartford Crossing will only reduce by circa 4% in the AM peak and 11% in the PM peak, suggesting that the benefits of the scheme at Dartford are unlikely to outweigh the disbenefits elsewhere.”

[3] National Highways local refinement consultation

[4] See The Historical Railways Estate Group website for more details

[5] Transport Action Network’s response to the local refinement consultation is here.

[6] National Highways other flagship scheme is the A303 Stonehenge. This was found by the Examining Authority and the Secretary of State for Transport to cause the World Heritage Site (WHS) significant harm. It was also opposed by UNESCO. Despite this, National Highways continues to maintain that the scheme will benefit the WHS. The scheme is currently being redetermined after a successful legal challenge to Grant Shapps’ decision to approve the road despite the harm it would cause.

[7] Thames Crossing Action Group.


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