Thames crossing

Lower Thames Crossing proposals

National Highways (formerly known as 'Highways England') is proposing to build a new Lower Thames Crossing that will include major highway through Thurrock – go to National Highways: Lower Thames Crossing.

National Highways has said the project's main proposals include:

  • 2 new 2.5 mile (4km) tunnels under the Thames – one southbound and one northbound
  • about 14.5 miles (23km) of new road, connecting the tunnels to the existing road network
  • 3 lanes in both directions with a 70mph speed limit, except between the M25 and A13 southbound where there will be 2 lanes
  • improvements to the M25, A2, and A13 where the crossing connects to these roads
  • new structures and changes to existing ones – including bridges, buildings, tunnel entrances, viaducts and utilities such as electricity pylons – along the length of the new road
  • a free-flow charging system similar to that at the Dartford Crossing, where drivers do not need to stop but pay remotely

Development consent

To get permission to build and operate the new crossing, National Highways must seek consent through a special planning process and be awarded a Development Consent Order (DCO). This must be recommended by government's independent planning authority, the Planning Inspectorate, then confirmed by UK Parliament and relevant Secretary of State.

On 20 November 2020, National Highways (as 'Highways England') said it:

  • had withdrawn its DCO application based on early feedback from the Planning Inspectorate
  • will get the information needed for the points raised and resubmit the application early in 2021

Go to National Highways: Development Consent Order update.

The documents below are letters sent to the Planning Inspectorate on 5 November 2020, concerning the adequacy of consultation response following the application for a DCO by National Highways (as 'Highways England').

Read the Joint statement from Thurrock Council and Gravesham Borough Council on the Lower Thames crossing in response.

Our reports

In February 2020, we commissioned a study that highlights the possible economic and social harm to Thurrock if proposals for the Lower Thames Crossing route go ahead.

You can download the study, along with its executive summary and our non-technical report, below.

The first report below was produced in February 2021. It looks at options for off-setting the negative impacts on Thurrock's residents and businesses, as set-out in the February 2020 report.

Most recent public consultation

From 14 July 2021 to 8 September 2021, National Highways (as 'Highways England') held a 'community impacts consultation', inviting the public to review and comment on:

  • their plans to build and operate the Lower Thames Crossing
  • how they propose to reduce their impact on the local community and environment

For details, go to National Highways: Lower Thames Crossing community impacts consultation.

Our response to this consultation is provided below.

For details of previous consultations and our responses, go to Lower Thames Crossing – story so far.

More information

For more information, go to: