Lower Thames Crossing position statement

National Highways (previously named Highways England) submitted a revised Development Consent Order (DCO) application for their Lower Thames Crossing proposals to the Planning Inspectorate in October 2022.

A 6-month examination then took place between 20 June 2023 and 20 December 2023. The examination was led by a panel of inspectors (called the Examining Authority) appointed by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Following the close of the examination, the Examining Authority has three months to produce a recommendation report to the Secretary of State for Transport on whether development consent should be granted.

The Secretary of State for Transport then has a further 3 months to consider the recommendation and make a decision.

Based on these timescales, an announcement on the outcome of National Highways’ DCO application can be expected to be made by June 2024.

If consent for the scheme is granted, construction is expected to start in 2027 and last a total of 6 years. As it stands the Lower Thames Crossing is anticipated to have an opening year of 2033.

Further information, including National Highways’ application, can be found on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

Our position

Our position on the Lower Thames Crossing is set out in our Local Transport Plan 4: Delivering Growth without Gridlock 2016-2031, as adopted by County Council on the 13 July 2017.

Throughout the examination, we expressed our overall support for the scheme, but raised concerns regarding the:

  • lack of environmental information
  • impact on Shorne Woods Country Park
  • impact on the local and strategic highway network
  • impact on existing road assets
  • impact on the construction workforce.

All of our submissions made during the examination have been published on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.