Lower Thames Crossing

This is a scheme to construct a 22.8km road linking the M25 in Essex to the A2/M2. This includes a 4.2 km twin bore tunnel under the Thames, a complex junction with the A2 between Marling Cross and the Cobham junctions, and rebuilding the A2 to the M2 at J1 (Three Crutches).

This scheme is proceeding by means of a Development Consent Order (DCO) application. The timeline has been:

Read the response we submitted on the issues raised by the Local Refinement consultation in summer 2021.

National Highways currently intends to resubmit its DCO application in late October 2022. 

May 2023 update

National Highways submitted their Development Consent Order application on 31 October 2022.  The application documents are available on the Lower Thames Crossing webpages of the Planning Inspectorate.  Please note that it is a very large and complicated application and the best way to find information is by using the Examination Library unless you know precisely what you are looking for, as it lists each document that has been submitted to the examination by any party and the Planning Inspectorate. The Introduction to the application is a good place to start.

The application is now proceeding to Examination, which is the formal process whereby it is evaluated by a panel of five Inspectors.  They prepare a report and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport, who takes the final decision. The draft timetable for the Examination can be found in the Rule 6 Letter.  This will be discussed at the Preliminary meeting, which is being held in Stratford, London on 6 June 2023 (it can also be joined remotely or simply viewed). The letter explains the agenda and what needs to be done to engage in the process.

The current intention of the Planning Inspectors is to start the formal part of the Examination on 20 June 2023, which legally can only run for 6 months. Written submissions carry as much weight at oral appearances. The Inspectors operate by asking written questions, considering the responses, and then comments on the responses.  They will also hold a series of Issue Specific Hearings, for which there are some dates in the Rule 6 letter.

There will be some Open Floor Hearings which give an opportunity for local residents and businesses to express their views in a more informal way. See the Rule 6 letter for more information. The Planning Inspectorate website contains details as to what is happening, what documents have been submitted, as well as advice on how the whole process works.

There is a useful summary of the process the beta version of an updated planning inspectorate site.

Please note that this page is only going to be updated for major events as they occur and the first place to look for information is the Planning Inspectorate website.

Some additional points of information:

  • A new consultation has been launched, ‘Minor refinement consultation’ covering some small scale matters.  Section 4 about the possible use of a single boring machine instead of two is the most relevant to Gravesham. The consultation closes on 19 June 2023
  • the former Southern Valley Golf Course is now in the ownership of National Highways. They are taking steps to make the site more secure
  • The Government has announced a delay to the start of construction of two years (that is 2027 rather than 2025) – this however has no impact on the Development Consent Order Examination timetable which is proceeding as detailed above
  • When an application document is updated on the Planning Inspectorate website two versions are produced:
    • one clean showing what the document now contains
    • one has tracked changes, so it is possible to see what has changed from the previous version