Highways England have now closed the formal statutory consultation for the design and route of the proposed third Thames crossing, which Highways England indicate will halve northbound journey times at the Dartford Crossing when it opens in 2027.
Over 15,000 people attended consultation meetings between October and December and Highways England will now take the next few months to review all those representations made to consider whether any further design changes should be adopted. They will also review the extent of the environmental and flood mitigation proposals, which, together with the actual required area for the construction of the 14.5 mile road, will take nearly 2,500 acres of productive agricultural land.
Due to the large number of representations made, it is likely that the formal application for the Development Consent Order will be delayed and subsequently the commencement of the any construction could slip in to 2022.
Tom French, a Director with BTF Partnership, who is acting for the majority of farmers and landowners affected both north and south of the Thames said “close to 2,500 acres would be acquired permanently, with another 1,450 temporarily occupied during the construction period and another 900 acres will be affected by utility diversions”.
The Scheme, which is the largest to be completed on Britain’s roads since the M25 was built 30 years ago will see the construction of a 2.4 mile long tunnel and at over 50 feet wide, the third largest bored tunnel in the world.
“Although the formal statutory consultation period has now closed, we continue to hold meetings with both landowners and the Lower Thames Crossing team in order to try and reduce the significant impact on farming businesses, commercial operations and residential property owners”.
The Development Consent Order process and the compensation “code” is complex and anyone affected by such a scheme should take professional advice from an experienced surveyor.