WORK towards the proposed £4.4billion Lower Thames Crossing is progressing with the promise of government funding.

After a meeting with Highways England leaders, the Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce said further financial backing has been secured for the planning process.

Under plans, this second tunnel linking Kent and Essex would be built within the
next decade between Thurrock port Tilbury and Gravesend, a few miles south of
the Dartford Crossing.

Jo James, Chief Executive of the chamber, said: “Despite concerns over future government expenditure, the Treasury committed funding for the team working on the project to drive it forward through the planning and community engagement process.

“It’s essential that we keep pushing the case for the new crossing at every opportunity,
and demonstrate the almost universal support there is for it from the county’s business community.”

Opponents have argued the crossing has the potential for a negative impact on the wider transport network.

There is currently a ferry service between Tilbury and Gravesend, which is the last crossing point before the Thames reaches the sea.

Tim Jones, Project Director for Highways England, said: “The crossing is an integral part of the future road network, serving not just Kent, Thurrock and Essex but to the UK more widely.

“Its impact will ripple out north and south on both sides of the river, improving our country’s ability to move goods, services and people nationwide and beyond to mainland Europe by better serving our ports.”

Highways England plan to hold further engagement with the community and local businesses during 2018, and members of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce
will have the opportunity to comment on the proposals then.

Further briefings will also continue into next year.

The government will have the opportunity to make a direct consent order to push plans through. No planning permission is required.