“Following my email last week about the withdrawal of our Development Consent Order application, we’ve now had further dialogue with the Planning Inspectorate about their expectations around our application.
The fundamentals of the Lower Thames Crossing, including its objectives and location, will remain the same but we will further develop some technical information related to some elements of the scheme before we resubmit our application next year.
The feedback from the Planning Inspectorate includes requests for:
- Further information on the impact of the project on traffic during the construction phase. We recognise that Local Authorities are keen to find out more information about our construction traffic appraisals and will be engaging with them on these issues.
- Further assessments about how an existing jetty on the River Thames near the northern tunnel entrance construction site could potentially be used during the construction phase. The operation of the jetty could, if used, impact river traffic. We will be developing Navigational Impact Assessment and engaging with stakeholders on this topic.
- More details on our approach for managing materials and waste, including how the different contractors will coordinate the reusing, recycling or disposal of waste.
- An enhanced Habitats Regulations Assessment to provide a more detailed explanation of our approach to assessment of potential effects on European designated sites where we have indicated there would be no likely significant effects as a result of the construction and operation of the new road alone, or in combination with other projects.
- More detail on our approach to the long-term management of the project’s proposed environmental mitigation.
The Planning Inspectorate has also shared some feedback from Local Authorities on our approach to consultation.
We’ve held a record-breaking programme of consultation, the most comprehensive ever undertaken for a UK road project with almost 300 days spent in consultation and nearly 90,000 responses received. We provided a significant level of detail on all aspects of the project in a wide range of formats to aid peoples understanding of our proposals.
We will consider this feedback carefully as we refine key areas of our submission ahead of resubmitting our application for a Development Consent Order.
For a project of the size and complexity of the Lower Thames Crossing, it is reasonable for the Planning Inspectorate to ask for further information, and we are doing everything we can to resubmit our application at the earliest opportunity. “
Highways England must now revisit their planning application and revisit these areas before the new application can be submitted. At this stage Higham Parish Council are not aware of the timetable for this, but we will, as ever, keep you posted on our FB page and website.
In the meantime, you may wish to take a look at the following websites
- Highways England website for more details on the scheme including a short film https://highwaysengland.co.uk/…/our-development…/
- You can also find out more about the application process, including how and at what stage you can get involved, on the Planning Inspectorate website – link here