Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock has today met with Roads Minister, Richard Holden MP to discuss his ongoing concerns about the proposed Lower Thames Crossing (LTC).
The aim of the meeting was fourfold. Firstly, Stephen continued to raise concern that the proposal would not address the original need to reduce congestion at the existing crossing, as all projections still indicate that, even after the construction of the Lower Thames Crossing, the Dartford Crossing will still be over capacity.
Stephen also queried with the Minister whether the ever-increasing cost still represented value for money, particularly in light of the recent downgrading of the Benefit/Cost Ratio.
In addition, he raised concerns that the current traffic models show a significant detrimental impact on local traffic around the existing road network where it intersects with the LTC, which could lead to significant delays to traffic moving around the east of the Borough.
Finally, Stephen wanted to get a clear understanding of the role the Government can, or will, play during the Development Consent Order (DCO) process.
During the discussion, the Minister listened carefully to the points raised and understood Stephen’s comments.
The Minister explained that now that National Highways had submitted the DCO, which is a formal legal process, the Government was unable to comment publicly on the plans. Nonetheless, he did explain that all the issues raised would be carefully examined during the public examination part of the DCO process and that, once the DCO process had been completed, a final decision would be taken in the Department for Transport considering all the points raised.
Stephen said: “I am grateful to the Minister for his time and for his explanation of the current position. I have subsequently registered to take part in the public examination and would encourage others to do the same by visiting: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-east/lower-thames-crossing/ ”
Stephen added: “Whilst I will continue to raise my concerns about the project at the highest level, we also need to engage with the LTC team to make sure that they understand our concerns and do all they can to mitigate the projects impact on the local community.”