Business chiefs and politicians from across Kent have been queuing up to offer their thoughts on today’s Lower Thames Crossing announcement.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling this morning said Option C – east of Gravesend – was the government’s preferred route for the crossing.
The planned route will run from the M25 near North Ockendon, cross the A13 at Orsett before crossing under the Thames east of Tilbury and Gravesend.
A new link road will then take traffic to the A2 near Shorne, close to where the route becomes the M2.
Here, we list all the reaction we have received so far to the controversial announcement.
Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary
“The new Lower Thames Crossing, and other improvements in and around Dartford and Thurrock announced today, will further strengthen our economy while also creating thousands of jobs.”
Gareth Johnson, Dartford MP
“This is possibly the most significant decision affecting Dartford in a generation.
“It is not only the right decision for Dartford but also for the whole country.”
Bob Lane, Lower Thames Crossing Association
“Highways England have hoodwinked the government with their biased consultation, if you looked through the consultation questionnaire there wasn’t a single mention of Option A.
“The government have missed out on a once in a generation opportunity to fix problems at Dartford.”
Christian Brodie, South East Local Enterprise Partnership
“This is excellent news for Kent and Essex and will have a significant economic impact.
“The investments announced will strengthen the resilience of our UK and European connections – imperative as we now move towards Brexit.”
Tim Waggott, Port of Dover
“The Lower Thames Crossing is an essential ingredient of the strategic infrastructure mix required to deliver national economic prosperity.
“The port fully supports today’s announcement by the government and warmly welcomes its commitment to keep the nation’s traffic and trade moving.”
Paul Spooner, Ebbsfleet Development Corporation
“We are pleased the government is in favour of Option C, the option we have always said is essential to the housing and economic growth of the north Kent area as it will divert significant volumes of national and international traffic, most notably freight vehicles, away from the A2/M25 bottleneck.”
Jo James, Kent Invicta Chamber
“This decision sends the strongest possible message to business that the government recognises the importance of investing in our strategic infrastructure in order to build a strong national and regional economy.”
John Keefe, Eurotunnel
“Eurotunnel welcomes the secretary of state for transport’s announcement that the route for the Lower Thames Crossing has been decided and that this essential infrastructure will be built.”
Bryan Sweetland, Gravesham councillor
“It’s concerning for the people of Gravesend and the people of Dartford because I’m quite convinced putting it here will not improve anything for the next 10 years.
“It will take the best part of a decade to build, and by then there will be a need for another crossing to replace the tunnels.”
Phil Filmer, Medway Council
“Not only will this alleviate congestion on the Dartford Crossing, but it will create easy access into Medway from the M25 via the M2 and A2.
“This will be a major catalyst to drive further economic development in the area, attracting more business, raising aspirations and putting Medway on the map as a place with great transport connections, in addition to the existing high speed rail service into central London.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.
“This decision means Medway is set to become an even more convenient and desirable place live, work, learn and visit.”
Barbara Cooper, Kent County Council
“What must happen now is for government to give reassurance to those affected by the new road and so we will continue to insist that a generous compensation package is provided for property owners affected.
“We fully appreciate the distress that this proposal has caused to the local community but due to the transport and economic benefits that a new Lower Thames Crossing will provide, we believe this is the right decision for the county, and indeed the country.”
Nikki Williams, Woodland Trust
“Thanks to all those who have campaigned the chosen route is less destructive to ancient woodland than we feared.
“Nonetheless the preferred route still singularly fails to meet Highways England’s Biodiversity Action Plan which commits to ‘no net loss of biodiversity’ from its projects.
“Decisions like the one today remind us why we must continue to fight for better protection for ancient woodland, which is irreplaceable.
“Until planning policy is strengthened we will continue to see our most precious wildlife habitats chipped away for the sake of supposed economic progress.”
Keith Taylor, Green MEP
“The new Lower Thames Crossing is doomed to fail even on its own terms; inducing, not reducing, the traffic and pollution on our streets and in our towns “The estimated £6 billion which has been earmarked for the new crossing should be redirected towards innovative and truly sustainable twenty-first-century alternatives, including moving freight from roads onto rail, seas, and waterways.”
Kelly Tolhurst, Rochester and Strood MP
“The fact that the preferred crossing option leads onto an already regularly congested section of the A2 – without significant plans to upgrade it – will lead to greater congestion on what is a vital artery for the south east and national economy.
“We cannot be left with a situation where the problems currently affecting the A2 are pushed further into the already pressured towns and villages of Medway and Gravesham.
“There is also no consideration of the proposed increase of housing across north Kent, with 30,000 homes planned for Medway alone, with most targeted around the Peninsula.
“Elsewhere in north Kent, the Ebbsfleet Garden City and the proposed Paramount Park attraction will mean more motorists adding pressures to our roads.”