Medway Green Party responds to proposed new Thames crossing

Medway Green Party has responded to the recently launched consultation from Highways England about the proposed new Lower Thames Crossing. Highways England have recommended a multi-billion pound scheme including a tunnel east of Gravesend and Tilbury and a new dual carriageway running from the M2 in Kent to the M25 in Essex.

Highways England claims that this project will bring economic benefits to the South East and will help to reduce congestion at the current Dartford crossing. However, Greens argue that this project is short-sighted and flawed.

Medway Green Party Membership Officer, Steve Dyke says:
“Far from tackling congestion, any benefits are likely to be quickly eroded by an increase in road travel.  We are also very concerned about the wider impact it would have on residents and the environment on both sides of the Thames.  The new crossing will do little or nothing to alleviate the existing high levels of pollution at Dartford
and will additionally impact residents elsewhere, in terms of increased noise and reduced air quality.  Locally this would include those in Strood, near the proposed enhanced junction with the M2, and those in the villages on the route of the new dual carriageway, such as Higham, Chalk and Shorne.

“Increased traffic around the area will put additional pressure on our already stretched road network and yet more green space and wildlife will be sacrificed in the name of spurious economic growth, including through possible infill development. Highways England has admitted in their Consultation Booklet that development will impact on greenbelt land, the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, irreplaceable
ancient woodland and other environmentally sensitive sites”.

The Green Party is pushing for greater investment in alternative transport measures such as the rail networks [1], which will help tackle air and noise pollution, rather than an extension of the road networks and high levels of pollutants associated with them [2].

Green Party Kent County Councillor, Martin Whybrow, says:
“Kent has some of the highest air pollution levels in the country, and developing further road networks does nothing to counter this. With air pollution in Kent responsible for hundreds of deaths every year, it’s time to stop pouring money into more polluting roads. We need cleaner, sustainable travel options that move people and freight away from vehicles, for the sake of people’s health and the sake of our environment. ”

Steve Dyke adds: “The billions of pounds to be spent on this scheme could be better invested in measures which reduce pollution and tackle the urgent issue of climate change.  We need a smarter transport strategy”.

Medway Green Party is urging concerned residents to respond to the consultation.

Details and the online survey can be found on the Highways England
website. https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/cip/lower-thames-crossing-consultation/consult_view

The consultation ends on 24th March 2016.

Ongoing news on this proposal can be found by visiting the Medway Green Party Facebook page.

Notes:

[1] Green MP Caroline Lucas’s Railways Bill calls for the railways to
be brought back into public hands, to improve investment in our rails
and to ensure affordability and access:
http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2015-16/railways.html

[2] Pollution from road traffic, and particularly from diesel fumes,
is a key contributor to deadly air pollution. The key pollutants of
concern are Particulate Matter and Nitrogen Dioxide which are
particularly threatening to human health.

 

 

 

 

 

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