Long-awaited Lower Thames Crossing announcement now expected in the summer

“Any announcement now would risk breaking purdah rules for the Kent County Council elections. It remains incredibly frustrating that the government are still delaying making a decision.

“All the time a decision isn’t made, the uncertainty for residents and businesses continues, the congestion increases and the air pollution, now at levels in Dartford similar to central London, gets worse.”The announcement on the Lower Thames Crossing will not be until the summer, local politicians have claimed.

An announcement on the long awaited crossing between Kent and Essex was expected last week.

However, the incidents on last Wednesday may have pushed a decision back to avoid implementing the County Council elections in May.

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson said: “We were expecting an announcement last week which understandably didn’t take place due to the terror attack.

“The Government is prevented from making some announcements during the period of Purdah and therefore its hand may be forced on this.”

Purdah is the pre-election period that prevents central government from making controversial announcements.

Mr Johnson said he was meeting the transport secretary Chris Grayling today to discuss what the legal position is.

Dartford Labour leader Jonathan Hawkes said the delay means a longer period of uncertainty. He said: “Yes, it does now appear that the decision on where to site a new crossing has been kicked into the long grass until the summer. “Any announcement now would risk breaking purdah rules for the Kent County Council elections. It remains incredibly frustrating that the government are still delaying making a decision.

“All the time a decision isn’t made, the uncertainty for residents and businesses continues, the congestion increases and the air pollution, now at levels in Dartford similar to central London, gets worse.”

Both Gareth Johnson and Dartford Labour have backed Option C, a crossing east of Gravesend.

Kent County Council election is on May 4.

 

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