Future of Lower Thames Crossing in doubt after Government comments
Politics / Sat 28th Oct 2023 at 10:24am
HOPES have been raised that the deeply unpopular £10billion plan for the Lower Thames Crossing could be kicked into the long grass following a government announcement.
The Department for Transport has said it wants to focus on keeping the road network in a “safe and serviceable condition” as a priority rather than building new roads.
The project to link Kent with Essex via two new 2.5 mile tunnels under the Thames will cut a swathe through Thurrock green belt and has been strongly opposed by the authority and campaigners.
A development consent order for the scheme is being considered by the government. However, it was announced in March that even if the crossing is granted permission it would be re-phased or delayed by two years.
Laura Blake, chairman of Thames Crossing Action Group, said: “Not only do we agree with many others that there is a real need for better maintenance of the existing road network, but we also believe there is plenty of evidence to show that the proposed £10bn Lower Thames Crossing should not go ahead regardless.
“It fails to meet scheme objectives, and would not solve the problems at the Dartford Crossing which would still remain over capacity.
“It would be hugely destructive and harmful, including a whopping 6.6 million tonne of carbon emissions. The cost has risen from £4.1billion up to £9billion as of August 2020, and we believe it will now be in excess of £10billion, and a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.”
The DfT made the comment about its priorities in response to a report by the Commons’ Transport Select Committee on National Highways’ multibillion-pound portfolios of projects.
The cross-party committee argued that money for the government’s next Road Investment Strategy should be prioritised on renewal and maintenance rather than costly new roads that have been prone to delays and overspending.
Ms Blake added: “In addition, the Transport Select Committee have called on government to reconsider expensive complex road projects, and they don’t come more expensive and complex than the proposed LTC.
The Climate Change Committee have also called for an urgent review of all current and future road projects.
“We need to see the proposed LTC scrapped NOW.” before even more taxpayers’ money is wasted.”
Lets hope the same goes for the Stort River crossing, which would knock the proposed Gilston development on the head.