The proposed Lower Thames Crossing will benefit Havering, but there's no escape from the considerable disruption its construction will cause residents. That's why together with Havering Council and Romford MP Andrew Rosindell, I am calling for a residents’ discount to compensate local people.
If approved, the new three-lane dual carriageway tunnel – which would be the longest road bridge in the UK – won't be completed until 2029/2030. It will connect the M25 near North Ockendon to the M2 near Rochester, relieving congestion on the existing Dartford Crossing and offering a much needed new Thames crossing east of London.
Undoubtedly, this will benefit Havering residents who heavily rely on the Dartford Crossing as the new tunnel will double road capacity between our borough, Kent and Essex. The tunnel will also ease congestion on the approach roads to the M25, cutting traffic locally too. It also promises new opportunities by bringing over 400,000 more jobs within a 60-minute commute once open.
In the meantime, however, the project will cause disruption as they built the tunnel and connect it to the M25. Like Thurrock residents, people living in Havering will be greatly impacted by the construction of the crossing. But, unlike Thurrock, our borough hasn't been offered a discount to compensate residents. That's unfair.
Until the new crossing is open, Havering residents will be subjected to more noise, more pollution, and more traffic. This will disrupt people's lives and impact livelihoods, especially if the work results in long delays at the Dartford crossing. In the end, the tunnel will greatly benefit us, but it will come at a cost too.
A consultation is underway on the new proposals for the Lower Thames Crossing. I encourage everyone to have their say before it closes on the 8th of September and join our call for a discount for Havering residents.
Article by Keith Prince AM first published in the Romford Recorder.