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New consultation with public over Lower Thames Crossing; chance to have say on project.

Byline: AARON MAYHEW aaron.mayhew@reachplc.com @essexlive

A PUBLIC consultation has been launched over a controversial new tunnel connecting Kent and Essex.

The Lower Thames Crossing, which could be completed by 2029, has been proposed as part of the Government's Road Investment Strategy.

The proposals have been at the centre of controversy, however, as they were challenged in the High Court over concerns for the environment. Highways England said the plan will mean better access to jobs, two new public parks and 46km of new and improved public paths.

Part of the eight-week public consultation is to give the public the opportunity to have their say on the proposals and how the project would reduce its impact on the local community and environment. Highways England said the plans include: | Better access to existing jobs for Gravesham, Thurrock and Havering as improved journey times would bring over

This another people to before we Matt 400,000 more jobs within a 60-minute commute, when the new crossing is open for traffic.

|Two new public parks that would remove the need for more than 470,000 HGV movements on local roads by beneficially reusing excavated material.

These are Chalk Park, a 38-hectare park near Gravesend, and Tilbury Fields, a 48-hectare park overlooking the Thames in Thurrock. |More than 260 hectares of new woodland, in addition to the new 100-hectare community woodland being created in partnership with Forestry England, near Great Warley in Brentwood. | 46km of new and improved footpaths, bridleways, and cycle routes, as well as 120 per cent more hedgerows, 40 per cent more ponds, ten per cent more ditches and seven new green bridges; | The proposed locations of the construction and utility compounds, and temporary construction roads. | A summary of the predicted impact of the project during construction and operation on topics ranging from local traffic, public transport and cycle paths to air quality, noise and vibration.

On the consultation website, there are new images of the proposed road, three new fly-throughs showing it before, during and after construction, and an updated interactive map.

consultation is opportunity for their say submit our Palmer

Matt Palmer, executive director for the Lower Thames Crossing, said: "The Lower Thames Crossing is the most ambitious road scheme in a generation. "The new, reliable connection would improve access to hundreds of thousands of additional jobs, offer new opportunities for local businesses, and create and connect new green spaces that are so important for wildlife and local communities.

"The feedback has been crucial in helping us design a scheme that brings the most benefit to local communities while reducing its impact.

"This further consultation is another opportunity for people to have their say before we submit our planning application at the end of the year."

Highways England said the plan would ease congestion and improve air quality on the Dartford Crossing by diverting more than 13 million vehicles away every year.

The consent process will take up to 18 months and, if it goes ahead, construction is expected to start in 2024 with the road opening between 2029 and 2030.

At the end of June, the plan came under fire from campaigners with the crossing's environmental impact. They said Lower Thames Crossing could create more than five million tonnes of carbon emissions.

impact community showing and and This consultation is another opportunity for people to have their say before we submit our application. Matt Palmer most road as journey over

CAPTION(S):

An artist's impression of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing Highways England

A proposed bridge over the M25 as part of the Lower Thames Crossing
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Author:AARON MAYHEW aaron.mayhew@reachplc.com @essexlive
Publication:Brentwood Gazette (Essex, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 21, 2021
Words:594
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