Phil Hornby, Meridian,s Political Correspondent, has been speaking to Jackie Doyle-Price MP, and the Transport Minister. She's critical of the decision to delay a final decision on the route across the Thames; Robert Goodwill defends the need for more time.
Commenting on the government decision to rule out Swanscombe as an option Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council, said:
“We were promised that there would be a quick turnaround on the decision for a third Thames crossing and I am disappointed that no decision has been made.
“It is a massively important project to unlock significant growth in the Thames gateway and we will be asking ministers for a rapid decision on the two options that remain. It is too vital a project to be allowed to drift any longer.
“Option C represents the best long-term logical solution to the transport challenges we face in Kent and the South East – by combining the greatest economic benefits for the residents of Kent, with a route that alleviates pressure on the M25 and our network.
The Government will drop one of the options for a new Lower Thames crossing and will carry out further work on the remaining two options, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced today.
The original proposals for a new crossing in the Lower Thames included:
• Option A at the site of the existing A282 Dartford-Thurrock crossing;
• Option B which would connect the A2 Swanscombe Peninsula with the A1089;
• Option C connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30; and a variant to Option C that would additionally widen the A229 between the M2 and M20.
It 's been decided that ‘Option B’ will be discarded and further work will be done to choose between options A and C.
We had over 5,700 responses to the consultation and we have carefully considered each of them. Ruling out the least attractive option now gives some clarity for local residents and businesses.
“We are committed to making a decision on the location of the new crossing as soon as possible, but we recognise that whatever crossing location is chosen it will have significant impact for people in the area and the economy. These are tough decisions to be made and must not be taken lightly.”