Campaigners fighting a new road tunnel under the Thames are decrying a “lack of adequate consultation” after a new consent bid was submitted.

The Lower Thames Crossing would involve a three-lane carriageway connecting the M25 near North Ockendon to the M2 near Rochester, including a tunnel to take pressure off the Dartford Crossing.

National Highways was initially due to submit a Development Consent Order in October 2020, though withdrew it in November as the planning inspectorate was due to refuse it.

Now, it has confirmed it has resubmitted the order on October 31, following further consultations over the past couple of years

Matt Palmer, executive director for the LTC, said the planning inspectorate will now consider if the application is to be taken to the next stage of the planning process. 

“We’ve carried out a huge programme of engagement and consultation with our stakeholders and communities to improve the design of the Lower Thames Crossing and reduce our impact on our neighbours and the environment,” he said.

“We're grateful to our stakeholders and local communities for taking the time to give us feedback and help us shape our route and how we will build it.” 

Romford Recorder: The proposed LTC involves a tunnel being built beneath the River ThamesThe proposed LTC involves a tunnel being built beneath the River Thames (Image: Highways England)

Mr Palmer has said the tunnel would “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”.

But the Thames Crossing Action Group has called out what it sees as “a lack of adequate consultation, and evidence that the project would not deliver the scheme objectives”. 

Its chair Laura Blake said: “This is a hugely destructive and harmful project that would not solve the problems at the Dartford Crossing, is not fit for purpose, and is now estimated to cost in the region of at least £10 billion that would be a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.   

“Our local authorities, MPs and many major organisations and groups have concerns just like us.  The fact National Highways have pushed ahead with the resubmission wreaks of desperation for a project that is hanging by a thread and should be put out of its misery.  

“We need and deserve better.”

Feedback on potential amendments to the project was recently published by National Highways, with key concerns including proposed work to a number of junctions, and the amount of land required for the scheme. 

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