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Council calls for longer Lower Thames Crossing tunnel

Gravesham Borough Council has called for further southward extension of the Lower Thames Crossing tunnel in its response to Highways England’s latest consultation on the project.

The council told GE’s sister title NCE that it was “strongly opposed” to a number of the proposals put forward in the public consultation for the scheme.

Although the council agreed that a crossing was needed, in its official response to the public consultation on the scheme, it raised a number of changes which it said were needed to improve the scheme and reduce its impact on the surrounding community. It also maintained that the crossing should be built at Dartford, rather than its currently proposed location, 10km to the east, at Gravesend.

“The western option south of the river was selected in 2017 because it had less environmental impact than the eastern,” the response said. “The current proposals are however very damaging indeed on the environment and affect more local residents (Riverview Park and Thong).

“A re-think is needed of these proposals.”

Gravesham Borough Council covers the southern part of the route from the connection with the A2 and north to the Thames. It did not comment on the northern part of the route from Tilbury to the connection with the M25 at North Ockendon.

Given the proposed route be taken forward, the council said it welcomed the extension of the tunnel underneath the Thames and the deletion of the A226 junction announced in October. However, the council proposed a further extension of the tunnel southwards, widening of the bridge and mitigation for local residents for noise and air quality.

A Highways England spokesperson told NCE: “The Lower Thames Crossing consultation is arguably the most significant that has ever been held into a UK road scheme and we have had an excellent response from stakeholders and communities across Kent, Essex and London.

“We have had significant levels of positive and constructive engagement with Gravesham Council. We will be considering its feedback and recommendations, which will play an important role in the evolution of the design. We look forward to working closely with Gravesham Council as we continue to develop our proposals to maximise the benefits and reduce the impact locally, regionally and nationally.”

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