After George Osborne’s ‘Autumn Statement’ last week, it is safe to say that a new Lower Thames Crossing has been slapped back on the agenda by a Government determined to ruin all our beautiful countryside with their desperate attempts to put the economy back on track.
CPRE Protect Kent had been somewhat hopeful that this shockingly ill-advised scheme had been put on the back-burner or scrapped altogether as KCC was unlikely to be able to fund the development itself, however unfortunately the Government has gone ‘once more unto the breach’ and offered the large part of financing itself.
This means that a new crossing is heavily back on the agenda, and we at CPRE Protect Kent are extremely concerned. There have been three possible locations mooted at this stage, with the Government promising a full public consultation in early 2013. Although that sounds a long time away, we must bear in mind that we’re almost in 2012 now, so it could well be less than two years before building (and all the associated problems) commence.
These plans are coming from a Government who promised that once the current crossing had paid for itself, the tolls on the existing crossings would be scrapped. Yes, CPRE Protect Kent does indeed acknowledge that there is excessive congestion at the current Thames crossings, but we feel that since there was a promise to remove the tolls, this should be fulfilled. There is already a tacit acknowledgement that removing the tolls enhances the flow of traffic as when there is an incident, this is exactly what happens and it manages to clear the congestion.
Why won’t KCC and the Government simply remove the tolls, thus negating the need for another Lower Thames Crossing which will be incredibly damaging to the environment. It is the only sensible option.
We really do require public support to stop this awful proposal, so please consider joining CPRE Protect Kent if you’re not already a member, and help us to keep Kent beautiful.