In 2013, the government consulted on proposals for a new river crossing in the lower Thames area.
The outcome of the consultation, which ran from 21 May 2013 to 16 July 2013, is published at GOV.UK: Options for a new Lower Thames Crossing.
On 15 July 2014, the government published a response to the consultation, in which it stated:
- there is a need for a new crossing
- as there was no clear preference, government would develop and appraise route options
- the government expected to consult on its updated proposals in late 2015 or early 2016
Full details are at GOV.UK: Government response to the Lower Thames Crossing consultation.
Thurrock Council opposition
Following a series of public meetings organised by Thurrock Council, councillors voted unanimously in November 2015 that:
"This Council remains opposed to government plans for a further river crossing in Thurrock and commits to continue campaigning, alongside local residents, on this issue."
Second government consultation
From 26 January 2016 to 24 March 2016, Highways England held a consultation on updated proposals for a road crossing between Essex and Kent, across the river Thames.
In this consultation, they proposed a dual carriageway connecting junction 1 of the M2 to the M25 between junctions 29 and 30, which would cross under the Thames at a site just east of Tilbury and Gravesend. This site was referred to as 'Location C'.
The proposal included options for connecting routes – 3 north of the river and 2 south of the river. They also considered the site of the current M25 crossing. Go to Highways England: Lower Thames Crossing consultation to find out more about this consultation.
During this consultation, a public meeting was hosted by Thurrock Council at Tilbury Port, which more than 1,000 people attended.
Government announces a preferred route
On 12 April 2017, the government announced its preferred route – GOV.UK: preferred route for a new Lower Thames Crossing. The route would include:
- a bored tunnel crossing under the Thames east of Gravesend and Tilbury – 'Location C'
- a new road north of the river which will join the M25 between junctions 29 and 30
- a new road south of the river which will join the A2 east of Gravesend
On 17 November 2017, Highways England published a second map showing its 'current thinking'.