We will be debating the proposed new Lower Thames Crossing at an important public meeting next week.
Wednesday, 2nd March
St John’s Catholic Comprehensive School, Rochester Road, Gravesend, Kent DA12 2JW
Doors open 18:00 for 19:00 start
Organised by Gravesham Neighbourhood Forums, the speakers are CPRE Kent Director Hilary Newport and Highways England Consultation Manager Martin Potts. The meeting will be chaired by journalist Iain McBride with maximum time for questions.
QE2 Bridge by Diamond Geezer, flickr
Meanwhile we have raised our concerns about the implications for pollution of the proposed new crossing.
Alex Hills, Chairman of the Dartford and Gravesham branch of CPRE Kent, said: “We all know that pollution is a killer with the young most at risk and yet the route being promoted passes many schools. We find it baffling that Highways England is not going to do a full modelling of the impact on air quality until after the route has been chosen.”(1)
Highways England documents state that no parts of the south east meet the ambient air quality directive(2) and Gravesend and Rochester town centres already exceed safe pollution levels. Experts calculate that pollution accounts for 40,000(3) early deaths a year. Research has proven that pollution can cause asthma, strokes and heart attacks, so should be regarded as a serious health issue.(4)
It is for this reason the government is supposed to be working towards reducing UK emissions by 60%. Air pollution reduces brain function and development in children(5). A new tunnel and the associated road network leading to and from the tunnel will only lead to a worsening of air pollution levels in Kent and Essex.
Alex Hills said: “The increasing evidence on the effects of air pollution on people’s health makes the government’s insistence on a new road crossing indefensible. There needs to be a proper study into the alternatives. We have called for a sustainable transport strategy to ease congestion not just here but on the M20 and at Dover too.”
(1)Highways England document volume 188.8.131.52
(2)In 2015 the Supreme court ruled the UK had been in breach of the Ambient Air Quality Directive 2008/50/EC since 2010
(3)Royal College of Physicians-Channel 4 Despatches 22.2.2016
(4)Queen Marys Hospital London, Professor Jonathan Grigg and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Professor David Newby, Channel 4 Despatches 22.2.2016
(5)Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona Professor Jordi Sunyer- Channel 4 Despatches 22.2.2016
For more information on our policy position click here.
February 25 2016.