That is to say if Labour comes to power next week. The Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Andy McDonald told kentonline.co.uk that “all options” would be reviewed regarding the Lower Thames Crossing the Labour Party wins in the general election.
Kentonline quotes Mr McDonald:
“Before we agree to spending £6.5 billion we have to be sure that we will actually resolve the problem of congestion around the existing crossing and that is then done in a way that does as little damage as possible.”
Back in April the government said the crossing would create a new link between the A2 and the M25 and reduce the burden on the busy Dartford Crossing.
This route wis planned to run from the M25 near North Ockendon, cross the A13 at Orsett before crossing under the Thames east of Tilbury and Gravesend, with a new link road taking traffic to the A2 near Shorne, close to where the route becomes the M2.
Gareth Johnson, former MP for Dartford who is hoping to retain his seat, said going back on the plans would be ‘a disaster’ for the area.
“This is another reason why a Labour government would be a disaster for our town as it’s now party policy to scrap our plans to have another crossing away from Dartford and to potentially have another crossing at Dartford,”
“It flies in the face of common sense and everything we have been saying on this.
“We cannot have another crossing here at Dartford. I have always said it would be catastrophic for our town, with the roadworks we would have to put up with and the extra traffic on roads that cannot cope as it is.”
Dartford Labour leader Cllr Jonathon Hawkes issued a statement condemning the ‘further delay and uncertainty’ that would be caused by re-opening the crossing debate.
“Our position has not changed. Dartford Labour campaigned for a new crossing to be built east of Gravesend and that’s what should happen.
“There are always going to be pressures and challenges to the decision that has been made. For example, the Conservative candidate in Gravesham is still actively campaigning for the crossing to be built in Dartford.
“However, Highways England undertook once of its biggest consultations and the clear result was for a Lower Thames Crossing be built in Tilbury.”
Cllr Hawkes continued:
“It has the support of the Freight Transport Association, Kent County Council, The Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, South East Local Enterprise Partnership, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“Any further delay in the construction of the crossing will exacerbate the appalling situation for Dartford residents and that’s why Labour in Dartford will continue to campaign for work to start as soon as possible and for the funds urgently needed to improve our local road network.”
If Mr Corbyn wins next week, the new Thames crossing could take even longer to materialise. So business as usual I suppose.