Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Kent councillors pen petition against a new Thames Crossing

MORE than 50 councillors have signed an open letter to the transport secretary asking to scrap plans to build a Lower Thames Crossing east of Gravesend reports Kent Online.

The government will weigh up whether to build a new crossing east of Gravesend or in Dartford in the new year, and councillors at the Gravesham Rural Forum are concerned about the impact it could have on their area.

A letter addressed to Patrick McLoughlin says a crossing in Gravesham would create further congestion, damage the environment and cause serious health issues to local residents.

Forum chairman Cllr Kerry Smith wrote the letter, which has also been signed by Gravesham MP Adam Holloway and Gravesham Borough Council leader John Cubitt.

“We are handicapped by big pressure from other bodies that seem to think a new crossing will generate vast economic benefits for Kent, but they make that statement with no evidence,” said Cubitt.

“The Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC) jump on the bandwagon for no reason. They all say that we should have this without proper research, but we believe this letter has been.”

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson is in favour of building the crossing in Gravesham.

Cllr Cubitt sympathises with Johnson’s position, but does not believe the solution is to build in Gravesham.

“I can understand Dartford not particularly wanting it built there,” he said.

“We do recognise the traffic problems and the problems with air pollution and the health issues at Dartford, but we don’t think the solution is to move those same problems to the east of Gravesham."

Cubitt also spoke of the need to protect villages and other places of “outstanding natural beauty”, and hopes the letter will galvanise other groups into campaigning against the crossing.

“All the parish councillors in these rural areas have signed the letter, and under the last administration the council was unanimous in opposing building the crossing here,” he said.

“I am going to try and get something like that through the council again. I don’t think people are playing politics with this. We hope that this letter will act as a catalyst for other groups to speak out.”


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