New Thames Crossing Must be Part of a 21st Century Infrastructure Plan, says FTA
Wednesday 12 April 2017
The Freight Transport Association has welcomed today’s (12 April 2017) announcement from Department for Transport that the new Lower Thames Crossing is to be constructed to link the A2 east of Gravesend to the M25. This location is one of three which were proposed as an option to ease congestion around the Dartford Crossing and ease congestion forecast to occur as traffic levels increase. But the Association, which is the UK’s largest membership organisation in the freight and logistics sector, with more than 16,000 members, has urged government to proceed with its construction as quickly as possible in the context of a broader roads policy which must keep transport moving nationwide for many years to come.
“The decision to proceed with the third crossing over the Thames is long overdue,” says Natalie Chapman, the FTA’s Head of Policy for London and the South East. “Congestion at the Dartford Crossing is predicted to reach pre-Dart Charge levels by 2020, while the Blackwall Tunnel has become a cause of impossible delays for many of our members. We welcome today’s decision as a positive step towards tackling the congestion which occurs at the existing pinch points along the Thames.
“However, unless the new crossing constructed with the country’s future infrastructure in mind, it will simply transfer congestion to other parts of the road network. Our members want this new crossing to be properly planned and implemented, with minimal disruption, to ensure that British businesses can continue to operate efficiently both in the UK and on the continent. Without that forethought, congestion will simply be driven to other parts of the road network.”
Highways England has been consulting on the three potential options for the new crossing since May 2013. The selected route, which connects the A2 with the M25, is expected to carry 4.5 million heavy goods vehicles in its first year.
“The M2 / M25 route is a vital cog in the country’s freight machine,” continues Chapman, “and it must continue to work as smoothly as possible, as we move towards leaving the European Union, to ensure that British companies can trade without delays both domestically and internationally. Transport networks both north and south of the River Thames have been crying out for improvement in the past few years, and our members will be keen to see more of our roads network upgraded to assist business to trade without friction.”
The Freight Transport Association is the leading membership association representing the freight and logistics sector in the UK, with more than 16,000 members.
FTA Press Office