Lower Thames Crossing timeline

The Lower Thames Crossing timeline spans a considerable time frame so we thought it might be helpful if we break down the whole process for everyone, so that you can follow along with what has gone on, is happening, and we can expect moving forward.

Click on the Title or + symbol to expand to read more info on each section of the Lower Thames Crossing timeline.

Due to increasing demand at the Dartford Crossing, the DfT looked at options for an additional crossing at five potential locations (A, B, C, D and E).

The two furthest east (D and E) are ruled out as they are too far from the existing crossing. Rail is also ruled out.

You can view that study here.
The government recognises the need for a new crossing by naming it a top 40 priority project in its National Infrastructure Plan. You can view that report here.
The DfT commissioned a study to assess the 3 remaining location options.
The DfT carries out a public consultation to ask for views on the location of the proposed crossing.

Info on this can be found here.
The response to the consultation confirms the need for a new crossing between Kent, Thurrock and Essex. Option B is ruled out; the remaining two locations (A and C) are investigated further.

Click here for Government’s response.
Department for Transport (DfT) asks Highways England to assess the economic, traffic, environmental and community impacts for locations A and C.

The 2016 consultation was held from the 26th January through to 24th March 2016.

Despite the fact the DfT asked HE to consultation on Locations A and C, the public consultation asks for feedback on proposals and location C, including 3 routes north of the river in Thurrock and Essex, and two south of the river in Kent.

In TCAG's opinion this consultation was completely biased towards Location C.

It was several weeks into the consultation that we questioned the then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Department for Transport, Andrew Jones MP, and he told us “I can confirm that Option A is included within the consultation and remains an option for consideration".  By this time most people had been misled by Highways England into thinking Location A was no longer an option.

The consultation received 47,034 responses from all over the UK and Europe, making it the largest ever public consultation for a UK road project.

The consultation info can be found on HE's website here.

Location C was recommended as HE said it offers far greater economic benefits and congestion relief.
On Weds 12 April 2017, the Secretary of State for Transport at the time, Chris Grayling, announced the preferred route, a tunnel under the River Thames east of Gravesend and Tilbury (location C, route three with the Western Southern Link).

Click here to read the associated press release.

Click here to read our TCAG update on how the preferred route was chosen
Highways England holds a second public consultation. This time it's a statutory consultation running for 10 weeks from Weds 10th October to Thurs 20th December 2018.

28,493 responses were received in this consultation.

The TCAG index to Statutory Consultation updates can be found here.

Info can also be found on HE's website here.
Highways England holds a supplementary consultation running from Weds 29th Jan to Weds 25th March 2020, which was later extended until Thurs 2nd April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The TCAG index to Supplementary Consultation updates can be found here.

Info can also be found on HE's website here.

It was reported that over 6,000 responses were received to this consultation.
Highways England holds a design refinement consultation running from Tues 14th July to Weds 12th August 2020.

This consultation was held during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The TCAG index to Design Consultation updates can be found here.

Info can also be found on HE's website here.
Highways England submitted the LTC Development Consent Order (DCO) on Fri 23rd Oct 2020.

At this time HE chose not to allow the release of the supporting documentation until the application was accepted.

The Planning Inspectorate then had 28 days to decide whether the application was adequate, and whether adequate consultation had been held.

Our TCAG DCO Updates Index can be found here
At the eleventh hour on Fri 20th November 2020 it was announced that Highways England had decided to withdraw the LTC DCO application. Had they not have withdrawn the application the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) were due to refuse it. Highways England announced at this time that they would be resubmitting the DCO application in early 2021. They announced a self set target of resubmission within 90-120 days from when the DCO application was withdrawn. They failed to meet this target. LTC DCO application withdrawn – click here HE update on the withdrawal of the LTC DCO application – click here Reasons for the LTC DCO withdrawal – click here
Highways England held a Community Impacts Consultation running 8 weeks from Weds 14th July through to Weds 8th September 2021.

More info on this on the TCAG Community Impacts Consultation Updates Index, which can be found here.

Info can also be found on Highways England's website here.

It has been reported that 3218 responses were received in this consultation.
National Highways held the Local Refinement Consultation for five and a half weeks from 00:01 on Thurs 12th May through to Mon 20th June 2022.

More info on this on the TCAG Local Refinement Consultation Updates Index, which can be found here.

Info can also be found on Highways England's website here.

It has been reported that at an initial count 2232 responses were received in this consultation, this was prior to some postal responses being received so is subject to change.
Since withdrawing the LTC Development Consent Order application in Nov 2020 National Highways/LTC have to date failed to meet any of their self set targets for the resubmission of the DCO application during 2021.

Latest updates are that they currently aim to now resubmit the DCO application in 2022, although no specific date has been announced.
It is estimated that the Development Consent Order (DCO) stage would take around 18 months.

This will include:
  • Submission of the DCO application
  • A decision by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) as to whether to accept the application
  • A pre-examination stage
  • The examination stage
  • A recommendation by PINS as to whether a DCO should be granted or not
  • The Secretary of State for Transport (currently Grant Shapps MP) deciding and announcing whether the DCO has been granted or not.
There is then also a 6 week window for appeals to be logged if there are legal grounds.  If any appeals are made and accepted then the appeal process is carried out.


Related

Transport Action Network - The NSIP planning timetable - infographic
Campaign for better transport - A guide to the NSIP planning process
Planning Inspectorate - Info on the DCO process
Planning Inspectorate - LTC project page

   
According to info released by National Highways in May 2022 they currently predict that, if they are granted a Development Consent Order, according to their current plans construction of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing would begin in 2024.
According to info released by National Highways in the Local Refinement Consultation which launched 12th May 2022 they still currently predict that, if they are granted a Development Consent Order, according to their current plans the proposed Lower Thames Crossing would open in 2029-2030.

 

Obviously as we have already seen these things are subject to change, and we will do our best to keep this Lower Thames Crossing timeline up to date and things progress.

 

Related

Whilst NH do not have permission for LTC, they have begun and are progressing through a process for contracts and tenders for various aspects of LTC related works – click here to read more.