Environment and transport campaigners brave downpour for rally against 'toxic triangle'
PUBLISHED: 14:33 19 May 2017
One campaigner warned building roads would not tackle traffic problems
Campaigners calling for cleaner air and better public transport over the Thames braved downpours to make their voices heard on Thursday.
The rally saw up to 20 protesters cross the Thames via ferry to campaign in Tilbury and Gravesend against the lack of public transport across the river, while raising awareness of the potential ‘toxic triangle’, an area campaigners feel could become a pollution hotspot due to traffic between the Dartford Crossing, A2 and the planned Lower Thames Crossing route through the Gravesham countryside into Essex.
As it stands, just one per cent of traffic at the Dartford Crossing is public transport, but 30 per cent is made up of local motorists.
Dartford and Gravesham member of the Campaign for Rural England, Alex Hills, spoke at the event, which saw campaigners from Essex and Gravesend meet for the first time.
He said: “Right now cars are the easy option for people, CPRE recently published its ‘Road to Nowhere’ report which showed building new roads does not help reduce congestion.
“Take a look at the Dartford Crossing, it was originally built as a relief road for the Blackwall Tunnel, then they built a bridge, and now there’s a Lower Thames Crossing on the way.
“The A2 is operating at 98 per cent capacity, with the garden city growing and Bluewater’s expansion on the way, simple maths shows something needs to change.
“By shifting people off the roads and onto the rails and water, we can reduce traffic and pollution, which is continuing to grow in the south east.”
Last week we revealed plans from a campaign group to connect Kent and Essex via a £600million tram network.
If built, one line would connect Grays to Greenhithe - stationed at Bluewater, including multiple stops within Ebbsfleet Garden City.
Another line would go from Grays to the proposed London Paramount resort at Swanscombe, and a final line connecting the theme park and its car park.
Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate James Willis attended the event and said: “It was great to see so many people from both Kent and Essex brave the torrential weather to come together and campaign on better transport and infrastructure to try and stop the ‘toxic triangle’ before it is created.”