Public Notice (Thames): NOTICE PUBLICISING A PROPOSED APPLICATION FOR A DEVELOPMENT CONSENT ORDER NON-STATUTORY DESIGN REFINEMENT CONSULTATION

Highways England logoLOWER THAMES CROSSING

NOTICE PUBLICISING A PROPOSED APPLICATION FOR A DEVELOPMENT CONSENT ORDER

NON-STATUTORY DESIGN REFINEMENT CONSULTATION

HIGHWAYS ENGLAND COMPANY LIMITED of Bridge House, 1 Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, GU1 4LZ (“Highways England”) proposes to make an application (“the Application”) under section 37 of the Planning Act 2008 to the Secretary of State for a Development Consent Order for the Lower Thames Crossing (“the Project”).

Highways England carried out a statutory consultation in relation to the proposed Application from 10 October to 20 December 2018 and a non-statutory supplementary consultation seeking feedback on proposed changes to the Project from 29 January to 2 April 2020. Information about the Project presented during the 2018 statutory consultation and the 2020 non-statutory supplementary consultation can be found at https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/ltc/consultation and https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/ltc/consultation-2020.

Highways England has carefully considered responses received during those consultations and has continued to engage with stakeholders in order to develop its proposals. This process has informed a number of proposed design refinements to the Project since the supplementary consultation earlier this year. Highways England is now carrying out a further non-statutory consultation in relation to those refinements, which is taking place from 14 July to 12 August 2020.

The Lower Thames Crossing is a proposed new road connecting Kent, Thurrock and Essex through a tunnel beneath the River Thames. It would provide much-needed new road capacity across the river east of London and deliver the other scheme objectives set out in the Guide to design refinement consultation.

On the south side of the River Thames, the new road would link to the A2 and M2 in Kent. On the north side, it would link to the A13 in Thurrock and the M25 in Havering. The tunnel crossing is located to the east of Gravesend on the south of the River Thames and to the west of East Tilbury on the north side. The Lower Thames Crossing proposals include:

  • Approximately 14.3 miles (23km) of new roads connecting the tunnel to the existing road network;
  • Three lanes in both directions, apart from the southbound connection between the M25 and A13, where it would be two lanes, and around junctions;
  • Technology providing lane control and variable speed limits up to 70mph;
  • Upgrades to the M25, A2 and A13 where it connects to those roads;
  • New structures and changes to existing ones including bridges, viaducts and utilities such as electricity pylons;
  • Two 2.6-mile (4.3km) tunnels crossing beneath the river, one for southbound traffic, one for northbound traffic;
  • A free-flow charging system, where drivers do not need to stop but pay remotely, similar to that at the Dartford Crossing;
  • Traffic regulation measures that include prohibiting use by pedestrians, low-powered motorcycles, cyclists, horse riders and agricultural vehicles;
  • Provision of environment mitigation and replacement of special category land.

In addition, any necessary rights and powers will be sought to ensure delivery of the Project, including compulsory acquisition of land and interests/rights in land.

The Project is an Environmental Impact Assessment development (“EIA development”), as defined by the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017. This means that the proposed works constitute development for which an Environmental Impact Assessment will be required. An Environmental Statement containing information about the likely significant environmental effects of the Project will therefore be submitted as part of the Application.

During the 2018 statutory consultation, preliminary environmental information was included in a Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR), which is available online at https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/ltc/consultation, along with the rest of the statutory consultation materials. An Environmental impacts update was also published in January 2020 as part of the suite of supplementary consultation documents and is available at https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/ltc/consultation-2020.

The design refinement consultation materials that we are now consulting on comprise:

  • Guide to design refinement consultation
  • Design refinement consultation leaflet
  • Response form and Freepost envelope
  • Environmental impacts update
  • Map Book 1: General Arrangements
  • Map Book 2: Land Use Plans
  • Map Book 3: Engineering Plans
  • Easy Read version of the ‘Guide to design refinement consultation’

The development of the Project is continuing during the current COVID-19 pandemic and Highways England intends to submit its Development Consent Order (DCO) application to the Planning Inspectorate later this year. Given the constraints imposed by the pandemic, we are carrying out this consultation with an emphasis on digital engagement, whilst taking care to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to view, understand and provide feedback on the proposed refinements.

In the absence of physical deposit locations and information points, all the consultation materials will be available to view online or to download at the consultation website: www.lowerthamescrossing.co.uk/design-consultation, from the 14 July 2020. For those unable to access the internet, one printed copy per household of the consultation materials listed above is available to order now. The materials will be delivered to you free of charge. Instructions on how to order printed copies of the consultation materials are set out at the end of this notice.

Should COVID-19 restrictions be relaxed any further, we may make additional ways to review the information available. Please check the consultation website for updates.

We will also host an online exhibition, with all consultation material available to view, as well as webinars with a Q&A session for the public to attend. There will also be a telephone surgery available so that members of the public can book a call back from a member of the project team who will answer your questions on the proposals. Details on how to access these services are listed in this notice.

Any person may comment on the proposals or otherwise respond to this consultation publicity.

From 14 July, responses can be submitted by using one of the following response channels:

  • Online response form: fill in the online survey at www.lowerthamescrossing.co.uk/design-consultation
  • Freepost: Post your response form or comments to: FREEPOST LTC CONSULTATION (the Freepost address is the only text needed on the envelope, and no stamp is required).
  • Email: Email your comments to LTC.CONSULTATION@TRAVERSE.LTD
  • Telephone: Due to the restrictions in place relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are offering additional support to help you provide feedback over the phone. Please call us on 0300 123 5000 to book an appointment.

We cannot guarantee that responses sent to us in any other way will be considered. Responses will be accepted until 11.59pm on 12 August 2020.

Highways England will have regard to all responses received when developing the Application for a Development Consent Order, once consultation has closed. Responses will form the basis of a Consultation Report and this report will be one of the factors taken into consideration by the Planning Inspectorate when deciding whether the Application can be accepted for examination. Therefore, in providing any comments, it should be borne in mind that those comments may be made available as part of the Consultation Report.

If you would like further information about this notice, the consultation or the Project, please contact Highways England by emailing info@lowerthamescrossing.co.uk, phoning 0300 123 5000, or writing to Lower Thames Crossing, Woodlands, Manton Industrial Estate, Manton Lane, Bedford, MK41 7LW.Highways England’s policy on managing personal data can be found at https://highwaysengland.co.uk/privacy.

Gareth Protheroe, Highways England

Consultation website

The consultation website will be available to access anytime between 14 July and 12 August on www.lowerthamescrossing.co.uk/design-consultation. Details regarding the online exhibition, webinars and other consultation services can also be found here.

Telephone surgery

A call back from a member of the project team can be booked to discuss any questions or provide comments on the proposed refinements.

The surgery will be held between 14 July and 12 August 2020. An appointment can be booked from 14 July by visiting www.lowerthamescrossing.co.uk/design-consultation or by calling 0300 123 5000.

Consultation material on demand

For those unable to access the internet, one printed copy per household of the design refinement consultation materials are available to be delivered free of charge. The consultation materials are available to order via the following channels:

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