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Lower Thames Crossing Benefits according to Highways England

It’s the question that we all keep asking.  What are the benefits for us in Thurrock (or indeed anywhere along or around the LTC, or Dartford Crossing areas)?

At the LTC Task Force Meeting on Mon Dec 10th 2018, Thurrock Council shared the latest response they have had from Highways England.

The Question raised by the Task Force sometime ago now was:  What’s in the scheme for ‘us’? ie residents and businesses.

This is Highways England’s response literally copied and pasted:
As you are aware, the broader benefits are set out within the statutory consultation material.  However, in order to summerise, we believe these broader benefits will flow from the seven Highways England objectives for the project (three of which are less relevant for this discussion) and our subsequent technical discussions can be guided accordingly:

  • To support sustainable local development and regional economic growth in the medium to long term
    LTC will support this by strengthening and connection local communities and improving access to jobs, housing, leisure and retail facilities on both sides of the river. Poor connectivity across the Thames east of London severs local labour and product markets, impacting economies in the surrounding area.  Better connections across the river mean more job opportunities for those living in the region, and a greater pool for potential employees. They also boost the market for local businesses.New training and job opportunities created during construction will boost both the local and regional economies.
  • To be affordable to government and users
  • To achieve value for money
  • To minimise adverse impacts on health and the environment. Throughout the design process we will look to improve and enhance these routes (footpaths, bridleways and cycle paths) as we consider how they will be affected.We will work in partnership with local authorities and community interest groups, to explore how we can improve accessibility and local connections.Structures along the route will be designed to blend in with local surroundings as sympathetically as possible. A number of green bridges are being considered with features such as timber barriers and bollards, gravel, coppice woodland, ground cover planting and shrubs.  We will also keep the road as low as possible within the landscape and use natural screening.By creating habitats for wildlife, protected species, such as otters, water voles and bats, establishing new woodlands and ensuring landscapes are sensitively designed we aim to protect and enhance this rich landscape.
  • To relieve the congested Dartford Crossing and approach roads, and improve their performance bu providing free-flowing north-south capacity. LTC will reduce the number of vehicles using the crossing by 22 per cent with 13 million fewer vehicles using the crossing at opening, vastly improving journey times and reliability.
  • To improve resilience of the Thames crossings and the major road network.Improve journey times along parts of the A127 and M20 Cut congestion on approach roads to the Dartford Crossing (including parts of the M25, A13, A2)Increase capacity across the Thames from four lanes in each direction currently (at Dartford) to seven lanes each way (Dartford plus the Lower Thames Crossing)Allow nearly double the amount of traffic to cross the Thames.
  • To improve safety

Clearly, without the project and adherence to these objectives, then congestion on the Dartford Crossing will increase, the A13 and its M25 junction will come under further pressure, the ports and logistics businesses will be constrained and possibly marginalized, due to increased congestion on major roads HGVs will increasingly use local roads and local traffic will increase.

Besides these clear significant broader benefits that residents and businesses can benefit from, we have agreed to continuing out regular technical discussions, particularly we have agreed that we will host a workshop with Thurrock at Beaufort House in order to identify how the Lower Thames Crossing can help to support your Local Plan and explore what synergies there are in terms of benefits.  If you could let me know what day you would prefer that meeting to take place (I suggest we do this outside of our normal Wednesday meetings, so that we do not disrupt that schedule) and your proposed agenda, objectives and outcomes, we will go ahead with setting the meeting up.

In addition to the Local Plan workshop, we will continue to work with you over the coming months regarding detailed consideration of NMU connectivity, environmental mitigation areas (for flood compensation and environmental mitigation), tree planting and other environmental enhancements and major utility diversion routes.  Such discussions can then feed into the work ongoing design development work and your Local Plan development, as well as providing long term legacy and benefits.

We’re sure you can join us in pointing out that none of these are benefits to the people of Thurrock, or indeed any other area on or around the proposed LTC route.

  • LTC does NOT strengthen communities it splits and destroys them
  • It does nothing for jobs locally. Tilbury Port is one of the largest employers in Thurrock and they oppose the LTC
  • Thurrock Council’s Local Plan has been greatly impacted by the extra 68% land grab for LTC in July
  • Lakeside one of the largest retail centres in Thurrock does not benefit from a slip road off the LTC westbound onto the A13
  • Lots of forms of leisure will be hugely impacted, footpaths cycle lanes, bridleway will all be impacted during construction of the LTC. Golf courses will be lost. Safety at new large junctions like the A127 has not been taken into account for the safe crossing of pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders.  The general air, noise, light pollution for those trying to enjoy outdoors leisure activities.  The two forts walk between historic Coalhouse and Tilbury Forts would be so close to the LTC. Where will horse riders keep their horses after the loss of so many stable yards and grazing due to LTC? Shorne Country Park and Thames Chase would have a 6 lane motorway (LTC) right on or through them.
  • Local businesses and business groups are opposed to the LTC, and can’t see any benefits to them. In fact many are impacted adversely by LTC.
  • £6.8bn+ of taxpayers money to not solve the problems at the Dartford Crossing can in no terms be considered affordable or value for money.  Not to mention the cost to our physical and mental health and well being.
  • LTC creates a toxic triangle of pollution.  Huge impacts to people and wildlife, to health (both physical and mental), worsens air quality in areas that already suffer with illegally high levels of pollution.  Stress to people, especially those whose properties are directly impacted, sadly we are aware of people who are suicidal due to LTC, heart attack, other health issues.
  • Destroys precious greenbelt, agricultural land (inc Grade 1 listed), and habitats for endangered species.
  • The Dartford Crossing will still be over capacity, this fact is proven using HE’s own figures.
  • LTC will cause chaos, congestion and pollution on the M2, A2, A13, M25 and lots of local roads.  Especially as there are not adequate connections for daily activities, and also at times when traffic needs to migrate between crossings when there is an incident at either crossing.
  • Allowing nearly double the traffic to cross the Thames also means more pollution and new traffic.  New roads equal new traffic.  We need and deserve a real solution to the problems at the Dartford Crossing, not more traffic adding to the problems and chaos.
  • There are areas within the design of the LTC that look like they will be accident hot spots.  Mimicking of the tight bend at the top of the A1089 north. Weaving between where the LTC joins the A13 eastbound and the A13 eastbound slip road for the Orsett Cock junction. Numerous bottlenecks that will affect traffic flow and likely cause accidents.  Plus what about the safety for people living around the LTC whose health will be greatly impacted, not safe for them.
  • Of course doing nothing will mean the Dartford Crossing will get worse, how about going with a real solution, which the LTC is not.
  • Tilbury Port is not being considered in the design of the LTC, the Tilbury link road was removed. Limited access from A1089 out of Tilbury Port onto the LTC, and no access from LTC onto A1089 south back to the Port.  The detour for traffic wanting to head south of the A1089 impacts the A13 and Stanford junction roundabout where DP World traffic will be entering and leaving, meaning an impact on them too.  Hardly beneficial for Ports or logisitics businesses in the area.
  • Nobody can see any benefits, including Local Authorities and MPs, as well as of course residents once they know the real facts.

These are of course the tip of the iceberg and sadly the more you look into the consultation documents the worse the LTC becomes.