Council pledges pressure to ensure Thames tunnel is done right
PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 September 2019
Gravesham Council said it plans to keep pressure on Highways England to ensure the new Thames crossing is built with residents' views taken into account.
The council said it agrees the crossing is important, but it has vowed to continue to apply pressure on Highways England to ensure the concerns of residents and businesses are considered.
Members discussed the latest timetable and opportunities to make the borough's voice heard at the meeting of its strategic environment committee.
The committee heard that a further targeted non-statutory public consultation is planned for early 2020 ahead of a Development Consent Order being submitted in the summer.
At present, construction is scheduled to begin in 2021 with the crossing due to open in 2027.
Members heard there were still concerns over the implications for the local road network, particularly connections to the A2; where construction sites and accommodation for workers would be located; what mitigation measures would be put in place to protect the environment of the North Kent Marshes; and the health and safety of local residents during construction work.
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After the meeting, Cllr Brian Sangha, cabinet member for strategic environment, said: "We have already been successful in having changes made to the proposals for the benefit of our community and environment.
"These include a change in the location of the tunnel portals on this side of the Thames and alterations to the Marling Cross junction layout."
He added: "What we have always been clear about is that Gravesham will bear the brunt of the negative impacts of the Lower Thames Crossing.
"We want and need to speak with one voice as a borough to Highways England and to keep local people informed.
"I would urge residents and businesses to make their opinions clear to their local council member so we can lobby Highways England.
"Equally, we need to maximise any positives such as job opportunities and the possibility of apprenticeships for our young people when construction starts.
"This is the most important strategic project affecting Gravesham and we are determined to keep local people informed and represented."