HIGHAM PARISH COUNCIL
Lower Thames Crossing (LTC)
Comments, Advice and Views from
[ 14 June 2013 ]
Dear Residents of Higham,
IS THIS A BRIDGE TOO FAR?
Over the last few years there have been many attacks on your village. We have had airports in various forms and now the latest threat is the Third Thames Crossing.
As you may know the Department for Transport has put forward proposals for another crossing of the Thames to relieve congestion at the Dartford Crossing. There is a fairly simple answer to this - remove the tolls and the roads would flow more freely. We were promised that this would happen years ago, but it brings in so much revenue that it seems unlikely.
The Department's proposals are for one of three crossings:
Option A - a new crossing at Dartford close to the present one
Option B - a new crossing on the Swanscombe Peninsula
Option C - a new crossing east of Gravesend, in other words between Chalk and Higham. Option C also has the option of a further road crossing from the M2 and the M20 (Option C variant).
The Department has published its Review in an 82 page document outlining the case for each option. The proposals have now gone out for consultation and it is up to ALL of us to make our opinion and opposition known.
The Department has arranged the following local "Information Events"
I would urge you all to go to one of these and make your views known.
We have arranged a meeting of the Rural Forum to discuss the proposals for the new Lower Thames Crossing, on Thursday, 4th July at Thamesview School, Thong Lane, Gravesend at 7.30 pm with a representative of the Department being present. Please do your best to attend to show the force of feeling in the area. Do you have a question that you wish to put to the Department for Transport ? This is your opportunity to make your views known.
If you have access to a computer you can find the Department's Consultation Document at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-transport/series/lower-thames-crossing
You can make your opposition known by responding to the document on-line or by email or letter, HOWEVER WE WOULD URGE YOU TO USE THE LAST TWO METHODS AS IT APPEARS THAT THE
ON-LINE RESPONSE FORM IS LOADED TOWARDS ONE CONCLUSION.
With this in mind I quote from the document:-
THAT IS A VERY CONSIDERABLE THREAT.
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This is a GREAT threat to our area. We have had scares in the past but THIS IS FOR REAL. This is a bridge too far. The effect on our lovely environment would be irreversible and would destroy the unique character of the marshes and the wildlife that lives there. Bear in mind that this route passes through the Green Belt, the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and across the Thames Marshes, Marshes RAMSAR, designated SSSI and ancient woodland in Shorne and Ashenbank woods and would thus be likely to result in the greatest impacts on the natural environment of the three location options.
Cllr. Bryan Sweetland (KCC Member for Gravesham Rural) has said “Any proposal to build a Lower Thames Crossing to the east of Gravesham would be tantamount to environmental vandalism. It would destroy the precious countryside and blight our rural villages for years to come... the common sense option is to build another bridge at Dartford. Studies have shown it would have the least environment impact. It could be built in half the time of any of the other options that are being considered and would cost considerably less.”
It also seems to me that Option A is the best route. The infrastructure is there already, and it would involve less damage to the environment.
Please visit one of the Information Events mentioned above and make your feelings known. More importantly send your thoughts to the Department, BUT HURRY AS THE CONSULTATION CLOSES ON 16TH JULY 2013 AND RESPONSES RECEIVED AFTER THAT DATE WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. If it might be helpful to you, I have attached some thoughts that you might like to include in your representations to the Government. If you wish to use this letter as it stands please remember to write your address at the top and add your signature at the bottom otherwise it will not be considered.
Ours is the marsh country. Together we will keep it that way.
Borough Councillor – Higham Ward
Sample letter of objection
[ Name and Address ]
I write to express my concerns at the inclusion of Option C in the Government's consideration of a Third Thames Crossing. In my opinion Options A and B would be best of the three options.
There would be less need for a third crossing of the Thames if the present tolls at the existing Dartford crossing were abolished as promised. Traffic would flow freely. There would be far less congestion.
Option C (and variant). The objections to this route are that it passes through many sensitive areas including large areas of the Green Belt, the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and across the Thames Marshes, Marshes RAMSAR, designated SSSI and ancient woodland in Shorne and Ashenbank woods and would thus be likely to result in the greatest impacts on the natural environment of the three options. The variation to join the M20 would result in further despoiling of open countryside. Of the three possible options, Option C (and variant) would have the greatest impact on the environment and wildlife. Normal planning laws should result in a refusal to consider this option further.
The Report itself states "The adverse impacts of Options C and C variant would be far more widespread. Although a bored tunnel could reduce the adverse impacts in comparison with an immersed tunnel or a bridge, the construction of the roads needed to link a new crossing at Option C with the existing road network would be likely to have sufficiently adverse impacts on several ancient woodlands and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Ramsar site where proposed development would be subject to a test of over-riding public interest. This would make the overall assessment on the biodiversity of the area very large adverse."
There will be increased traffic flows around the Shorne, Cobham, Chalk and Higham and Medway areas. The Department's own analysis shows that traffic in Medway would increase and would have no reduction of traffic in Gravesham.
Traffic flows will increase and estimated forecasts of accidents show a considerable increase for Option C over and above the other options (61,000, 9,300 casualties for Option C as opposed to 26,000, 3,400 casualties for Option A).
The cost of Option A is estimated at a maximum of £1,829 Millions, Option B at £2,501 Millions, Option C at £3,825 Millions and Option C (variant) at £5,949 Millions. Option A is the best value for money and would have far less impact. The infrastructure for Option A (and to a great extent Option B) is in place to a great extent already and would involve far less impact.
In my view the best options would be A and B as these would have far less impact and in terms of value for money would reap the greatest rewards.
[ Signature ]
CONSULTATIONS CLOSE ON 16th JULY 2013.
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