A survey has revealed major public opposition to changes to plans for a new Thames tunnel.

And a campaign group has slammed the consultation process for the "hugely destructive and harmful" proposed Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) - designed to ease traffic around the M25 and Dartford - as "inadequate".

Feedback was sought on improvements to the proposed road, intended to run between the A2/M2 in Kent and junction 29 in Havering, with a tunnel beneath the River Thames. 

These included a redesign to Tilbury Fields, extra environmental compensation to mitigate increased traffic emissions, and a new footbridge over the A127, with the consultation running from May 12 to June 20

Romford Recorder: One of the changes proposed is a new bridge over the A127, to the west of J29One of the changes proposed is a new bridge over the A127, to the west of J29 (Image: Highways England)

A newly-published consultation document showed the highest number of respondents were against changes to the amount of land needed for the road, with 47 per cent saying they ‘strongly oppose’ the plan. 

The additional land now required includes four habitat areas to act as environmental compensation. These are proposed for areas in Brentwood, Thurrock, Shorne Woods (in Gravesham), and along the M2 corridor/Blue Bell Hill. 

A total of 43 per cent 'strongly opposed' changes to the M25 junction 29, while 45 per cent 'strongly opposed' changes to the A13/A1089 junction.

The highest support was shown for plans to amend the A2/M2 corridor, including greater open areas, with 24 per cent in ‘strong’ support. 

In the report’s foreword, LTC executive director Matt Palmer pledged to respond to all the issues raised in the consultation report in its application for development consent, which is expected before the end of the year.

Laura Blake, chair of Thames Crossing Action Group (TCAG), formed to campaign against the project, said: “This consultation feedback document shows that the majority of people responding are opposed or strongly opposed to the proposed LTC, because we have serious concerns.   

“However, it appears National Highways are not willing to take our concerns seriously, and aren’t even bothering to give any detail at all in to what they might be considering doing to rectify the concerns, if anything, if the proposed LTC does go ahead.   

“It is yet another occasion that they are withholding information from the public until they attempt to resubmit the Development Consent Order (DCO).   

“The whole consultation process has been inadequate, and the proposed LTC would be hugely destructive and harmful project, fails to meet the scheme objectives, is not fit for purpose, and would be a waste of £10 billion plus of taxpayers’ money.” 

Romford Recorder: A proposed view of the A13/A1089 looking southA proposed view of the A13/A1089 looking south (Image: Highways England)

National Highways has said it will look to submit an application for a DCO, which would enable work to go ahead, before the end of the year.

Mr Palmer said it will “almost double road capacity across the Thames east of London - easing congestion on the Dartford Crossing, improving journeys across the south east, and creating a reliable new route across the river”. 

View the feedback to the recent consultation in full here: https://nationalhighways.co.uk/media/hzmdo1zd/ltc-local-refinement-consultation-feedback-oct-2022.pdf