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Fears grow over impact on health and environment impact of Lower Thames Crossing proposal

PUBLISHED: 10:44 24 February 2016 | UPDATED: 10:45 24 February 2016

Shorne Country Park

Shorne Country Park

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A consultation is currently ongoing for the proposal

Countryside campaigners are warning about the potential dangers the Lower Thames Crossing could pose on the local environment and the public’s health.

Highways England is currently consulting on a crossing east of Gravesend, which could see a road built through the Gravesham countryside.

The recommended route from Highways England starts from where the A2 merges with the M2 and then heads north toward the Thames.

Alex Hills, a member of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, has warned pollutions from the road could damage local lives of people and nature.

He said: “If certain plans do go ahead, Shorne Woods Country Park could end up sandwiched between two very busy roads, which could completely destroy any sense of tranquillity in the woodlands.

“We’re talking about an area of ancient woodland, both aesthetically and environmentally building these roads will affect the land, with fauna being affected by the rise in pollutants

“The green space east of Gravesend is an important green lung, its acts as a strategic gap between Gravesend, with out it we could see significant urban sprawl.

“I am concerned about the levels of air pollution; there is strong research to suggest higher levels of air pollution causes up to 40,000 premature deaths a year.

“Also the pollution can effect brain development in young children growing up in these areas.”

Despite backing Option C, the leader of Kent County Council Paul Carter also raised concerns over the protection of the land.

In a letter to campaign group Abridge2far, Mr Carter said: “I am also still adamant that the route alignment must minimise its impact on Shorne Woods Country Park, a SSSI and areas of ancient woodland.

“The route should be in an extended tunnel along with other measures to mitigate the impacts on communities, sensitive environments and designated sites around the Thames Estuary.”

A public consultation on the proposed route ends on March 24.

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