As part of the Lower Thames Crossing (LTC), Medway Labour and Co-operative Group last week made a submission to the consultation process. The submission both supported environmental changes to the development proposal, aiming to mitigate the impact on wildlife and woodland areas locally, as well as raise concerns regarding the physical impact the crossing will have on the volume of traffic on the Medway road network.
The Labour group submission particularly highlighted concerns regarding the proposed charging scheme which is due to be calculated on the same basis of the Dartford Crossing. Labour have called for a full exemption for Medway residents and businesses from any toll charges, however at present the proposals comprise of a local resident discount operating for Gravesham residents only. Councillor Andy Stamp recently set up a petition on this matter, which you can sign here.
One of the other vital aspects of the Group’s submission was the concerns regarding capacity issues on surrounding roads. The group agreed that the proposed LTC is a necessary short-term solution to tackle chronic congestion, but urged developers to implement additional capacity on Blue Bell Hill, the M2 and M20 before the crossing opens. As these roads already suffer from significant congestion issues at peak times, there are serious concerns that the LTC will exacerbate this and bring unmanageable volumes of traffic to the Medway towns and surrounding areas, well above the capacity of the roads.
Medway Labour’s Spokesperson for Regeneration and Communities, Cllr Andy Stamp added that ‘The July 2020 update did bring some important clarifications regarding the reduction of environmental impact of the development. We welcome the changes to the scheme which aim to preserve local wildlife as well as reduce the impact on ancient woodlands.
“Having said this, we believe this could go further and absolutely support consideration of additional measures to reduce the environmental impact of the scheme on surrounding communities, and ensuring that the impact on air quality is minimised as much as possible.
“It is imperative that capacity issues are addressed prior to the delivery of the LTC. Medway’s local road network already struggles with high volumes of traffic, and the crossing will only increase congestion. We urge Highway England to work closely with Medway council to minimise the impact of the LTC on Medway’s local road network.”
You can read more about the LTC proposals here.
The full Medway Labour Group submission can be read below.