MP and council leader in ‘eleventh hour plea for common sense’ over Lower Thames Crossing
PUBLISHED: 12:09 15 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:09 15 March 2017
Gareth Johnson and Jeremy Kite have written to the transport secretary ahead of an announcement expected this month
An “eleventh hour plea for common sense” has been issued to the transport secretary over the Lower Thames Crossing.
Dartford MP Gareth Johnson and borough council Leader Jeremy Kite have written a joint letter to Chris Grayling in a last ditch attempt to persuade him that the new crossing must be built east of Gravesend - a location dubbed ‘Option C’ by Highways England
Talking about the announcement, which is expected this month. Mr Johnson said: “Even at this eleventh hour we need Chris Grayling to understand that another crossing at Dartford would be catastrophic for the area.
“Our roads cannot cope now with the congestion caused by the crossing, and the pollution levels are dangerously high, so this is the last opportunity to convince Mr Grayling that building the Lower Thames Crossing east of Gravesend and not at Dartford is the right approach.
“It is an eleventh hour plea for common sense to prevail, we cannot have another crossing at Dartford and the years of road works and misery that it would bring.”
In the letter, the pair said: “We urge you to make the right decision – right for our region, right for motorists, right for air quality, right for local people and right for the economy.
“If our country is to continue to prosper as we widen our economic horizons - as we know it can - it needs a commitment to the right infrastructure, not just the cheap or easy solution.
“Residents and motorists can see that only Option C provides the necessary resilience to keep our region and economy moving.
“We have, as I hope you know, been making our points robustly but reasonably for many months now.
“We have done so because we know how catastrophic a failure to provide a new crossing away from Dartford would be – to health, to the wellbeing of local people, to the economy, to ambition and to growth.
“It is time for the right decision and your commitment.”
However, the plans to build a crossing at Option C have been opposed by locals, with county councillor Bryan Sweetland stepping down from a cabinet post as a result of the row, in which he also described the government’s consultation as a “sales brochure for Option C”.