Joint statement from Thurrock Council and Gravesham Borough Council
The Lower Thames Crossing is one of the largest transport infrastructure projects we will see in our lifetimes.
While we are yet to understand the full reasons behind the withdrawal or what feedback Highways England has received from the Planning Inspectorate, the impact a project of this scale will have on our communities means it is only right that as much time as necessary is taken to ensure every last detail of the project is understood and has been assessed thoroughly.
Together we had fundamental concerns over the adequacy of the public consultation conducted by the Highways Agency.
While it will impact Gravesham and Thurrock and in different and specific ways, the two authorities feel the overall impact on our local communities will be such that full, genuine and meaningful consultation on the proposals is an absolute minimum requirement if we are to ensure the views of the people we represent are fully taken into account.
It remains to be seen whether that is a view shared by the Planning Inspectorate and therefore is a contributing factor to the withdrawal of the Development Consent Order (DCO) application.
We urge Highways England to take this opportunity to bring forward improvements to this scheme that will be for the benefit of all those who live in our two boroughs.
We await further information with interest.
Cllr Rob Gledhill, Leader of Thurrock Council, said:
"I am pleased to see that Highways England are responding to issues raised by the local authorities where this proposed new crossing will have a huge impact.
"We will continue to work along with our partners to engage with Highways England and to secure the best outcome for our residents in Thurrock."
Cllr John Burden, Leader of Gravesham Borough Council, said:
"This can only be good news. It suggests the Planning Inspectorate has found fundamental issues with the DCO.
"We have said all along that while we remain opposed to the project, we reluctantly and unfortunately accept the Lower Thames Crossing will go ahead.
"But we are determined it will go ahead with the best interests of the whole community of Gravesham, but specifically those closest to it and whose lives will be impacted the most by it, at its heart.
"This delay gives us the chance to drive that point home to Highways England with even greater force."