By National Highways’ own admission the proposed LTC would have a “Large Adverse” impact on the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
For example in the Appraisal Summary Table (2020) it states:
The Project with mitigation would result in major change to the landscape pattern and landcover within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and its setting and elsewhere within Green Belt. The new road infrastructure and vehicle movements would create a series of additional new elements impacting directly and indirectly on national, regional and locally valued features including areas of relative tranquillity, designated features, field bounding hedgerows, tree belts, open arable landscapes and recreational resources.
What is an AONB?
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a designated exceptional landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are precious enough to be safeguarded in the national interest. On par with National Parks, AONBs are protected and enhanced for nature, people, business and culture.
The Kent Downs AONB offers dramatic views, vibrant communities, a rich historic and cultural heritage and diverse wildlife and habitats making it a worthy landscape for national protection.
The land between the villages of Thong and Shorne, and to the south of the A2 including Cobham and Luddesdown, forms part of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
If the LTC goes ahead then during the 6-7 years of construction there would most definitely be a change to views and characteristics, noise, air quality, and traffic, which would impact those in the AONB and surrounding areas, as well as reducing the tranquillity of landscape including the AONB.
Once open, if LTC goes ahead, we are aware that some areas would be negatively impacted by traffic issues, along with the associated air and noise pollution. Some of the areas impacted in this way fall within the AONB.
Plus of course there would be the negative impacts on wildlife and habitats as many creatures are territorial and use foraging routes for generations. Also the impact to woodland, including ancient woodland, as it is known that woodlands are connected underground, so even impacts to trees on one side of a woodland can impact the trees at the other side. Connectivity for wildlife and their habits across the region would be impacted in and around the AONB.
Kent Downs AONB – click here
TCAG response to Landscapes Review (National Parks and AONBs) Consultation – click here
Details of Landscapes Review (National Parks and AONBs) Consultation – click here
LTC A2 bottlenecks – click here
Incidents – LTC/Dartford Crossing – click here