The South Essex Unitary Authority which is home to one end of the Dartford Tunnel and the Queen Elizabeth II Road bridge has written to Simon Clarke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury. saying it has “significant concerns” about the Lower Thames Crossing scheme.
Thurrock Council’s letter said the project no longer achieved its stated aims and needed to be re-examined. The proposed crossing involves running a new tunnel beneath the Thames with the aim of relieving congestion at the Dartford Crossing. The old tunnel was originally designed for a capacity of 135,000 vehicles a day but frequently reaches 180,000.
The £8.2bn tunnel project will link Kent and Essex with a 2.5 mile (4km) stretch under the River Thames – the longest in the UK. It would include 14.5 miles (23km) of new road, connecting the tunnels to the existing road network, running through Thurrock on the north side and around Gravesend on the south.
In the letter Rob Gledhill, leader of the council, said: “The Council believes the current project is no longer achieving its stated aims and that the basis for the project needs to be re-examined.
“This is due to significant and exceptional domestic and international challenges and events over the preceding three years. The council’s concerns are exacerbated by poor engagement by National Highways, especially in relation to sharing key information about local impacts.”
A 75-page document consultation response document will be presented to council next week.