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.

Relevant Representations – register to have your say

On Monday 9 January 2023, National Highways and the Planning Inspectorate opened the 'Relevant Representations' period of ongoing Lower Thames Crossing development consent order (DCO) process. You must register during this period if you would like to be kept informed about the process and have your say as an 'Interested Party' during formal Examination of the development consent application. Registration closes at 11:59pm, Friday 24 February 2023.

Registration is simple. You must provide:

  • contact details for yourself or your organisation
  • up to 500 words summarising the points you intend to make in relation to the DCO application

To register, go to National Infrastructure Planning: Lower Thames Crossing registration and relevant representation form.

For more information on the registration process, go to National Infrastructure Planning Advice Note 8.2: how to register to participate in an Examination. Further information and guidance is provided in the document below.

For full details of the overall process, go to National Infrastructure Planning: Lower Thames Crossing.

Main proposals of the project

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

Most recent public consultation

From 12 May 2022 to 20 June 2022, National Highways held a 'local refinement consultation' on the Lower Thames Crossing. It covered localised changes, including:

  • the re-design of Tilbury Fields
  • increasing the amount of open space south of the river by adding land to the east of Chalk Park
  • a new link road from the Orsett Cock junction to the A1089 southbound
  • a new bridge over the A127 for walkers, cyclists and horse riders
  • modified access to the northern tunnel entrance, providing safer operation of the tunnel facilities and better access for the emergency services
  • additional environmental compensation

For details, go to National Highways: Lower Thames Crossing local refinement consultation.

Our response to this consultation is provided below.

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

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').

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.

More information

For more information, go to: