Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon & East Thurrock, has called for the Lower Thames Crossing to be reviewed by Ministers.
The Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) route was finalised in 2017 but there is a strong concern that the proposed route will not do what it primarily set out to do - relieve congestion at the existing Dartford Crossing.
The fundamental concern is that LTC will not relieve the catastrophic congestion experienced in Thurrock or Dartford when there is an issue with the current crossing, such as high winds, hazardous loads or accidents.
The suggestion is that access to the new crossing is too far away from the actual problem to have a significant impact on congestion when it has been suggested that traffic both sides of the crossing backs up at the rate of 1 mile a minute. This will still happen even when the new crossing is built as thousands of vehicles will have gone past the point of no return and therefore will have no options to continue on their route and get caught in congestion.
The Thames Crossing Action Group has highlighted that the cost has risen to £8.2 billion already and this could continue to rise according to the National Highways latest claims.
Whilst we all want lower emissions and a greener transport system, this project will emit 5 million tonnes of carbon emissions as well as potentially do little to ease congestion locally.
In addition, local air quality is already well below that of the national average. Even with a move to electric vehicles, the new crossing will still bring more vehicles to the area which cannot have a positive effect.
Stephen Metcalfe said: “I have never made any secret that I have reservations about the LTC’s ability to reduce congestion.
I believe that not only will this project fail in achieving its goal but it will increase traffic in the local area considerable.
That being said I would like to commend the LTC team for their work with consulting and working with all local MP’s as well as other stakeholders as they try to deal with this 15 year long problem.
I have asked Ministers to look at whether what is being proposed still aligns with what it was set out to achieve and if it still represents value for money”.