Agenda item

Lower Thames Crossing




This report set out the proposals by Highways England to establish a Lower Thames Crossing between East Tilbury and Gravesend linking either to the A2 or the M2. It was explained that the new crossing was needed to reduce congestion at the existing Dartford Crossing and to unlock economic growth, supporting the development of new homes and jobs in the region.


With the agreement of the Cabinet, Councillor Maple addressed the meeting. He advised that other options could have provided Medway with the improved road network needed but Option C (Tilbury to Gravesend) was the least worst option. He also raised concerns as to the funding available for improving the surrounding highways infrastructure.


The report explained the background to these proposals. This included details of the consultation undertaken in 2013 on the options for an additional road-based river crossing and the response agreed by Cabinet on 9 July 2013.


It was explained that the option now being consulted on had three potential route options north of the river in Essex and two south of the river in Kent. The proposal was a new road connection linking the key areas of Ebbsfleet, Swanscombe and Gravesend in the south with Tilbury and the wider areas of Thurrock in the north. In the South there were two options, with one to the west (Western Southern Link) and one to the east (Eastern Southern Link).


The likely impact on the strategic road network and a recommended response from Medway Council to the consultation was set out within the report and accompanying appendices. Members considered the importance of adding commentary to this response on the capacity of the existing traffic infrastructure to respond to the construction of Option C (Tilbury to Gravesend).


Councillor Jarrett left the meeting during the consideration of this item and Councillor Doe chaired the remainder of the meeting.


Decision number:



The Cabinet supported Highways England's choice of Option C (Tilbury to Gravesend) as the option which Highways England has described as having the potential to unlock significant wider regional economic growth and offering higher transport performance in terms of safety capacity and resilience.


The Cabinet supported the Southern Westerly Link (A2) as this benefits Medway’s strategic road network to a greater extent than the Southern Easterly Link (M2).


The Cabinet supported a collaborative approach with partners to:

(a)        press for a funded package of improvements to the A2/M2 and M20 including links between the M2 and M20 notably the A229 (Bluebell Hill) and the A249, A226 and the A289.

(b)       press for the routes from the channel ports to the M25 corridor to be considered holistically and not in isolation of the Lower Thames Crossing.


The Cabinet agreed to delegate authority for the final response to the consultation on or before 24 March 2016 to the Director of Regeneration, Community and Culture, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Inward Investment, Strategic Regeneration and Partnerships and that response should include commentary on the capacity of the existing traffic infrastructure.




The timescales allowed by Highways England in which to analyse the proposals and respond require an intense piece of work through a collaborative approach between Medway and Kent County Council. This work will need to continue into March 2016 and will include drafting the actual response document based on Cabinet’s support for the recommendations.

Supporting documents: