Road projects

Putting communities first
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Putting communities first
December 13, 2017
Tunnelling Awards 2017, Photo credit: New Civil Engineer

On 11 December, Lower Thames Crossing Project Director Tim Jones was invited to deliver the keynote speech at the prestigious New Civil Engineer Tunnelling Awards.

In its 11th year, the ceremony brings together global leaders in the design, construction and delivery of the most innovative tunnelling projects around the globe.


Tunnelling Awards 2017, Photo credit: New Civil Engineer

Tim Jones delivering the keynote speech at the New Civil Engineer Tunnelling Awards 2017 (photo credit: New Civil Engineer)

While the focus of the day was on celebrating the industry’s achievements over the past year, Tim noted that the biggest change to the tunnelling community in recent times has been the shift towards more accessible and inclusive design.

“Perhaps the most influential change to us as engineers and to you as the tunnelling community, comes from the people we design and build for,” explained Tim. “The communities and customers we serve have an increasingly powerful voice, particularly in key areas such as air pollution, traffic, sustainability, design, accessibility and integration.”

At Highways England, we understand the critically important role that communities play in shaping our schemes and we are keen to work closely with them to deliver sustainable solutions that enable local and regional growth, while also minimising environmental and community impacts.

One way we do this is through ongoing engagement with local stakeholders to gain a better understanding of their needs. Last week we met with more than 30 Gravesham Councillors to discuss how the Lower Thames Crossing will provide better journeys, strengthen and connect local communities, and improve access to jobs, housing, leisure and retail facilities on both sides of the river.

Our Community Engagement team also met with over 100 local residents at a Lower Thames Crossing information session in Gravesend to discuss the latest project developments and answer residents’ questions. The team was able to hear local residents’ views on our proposals and to discuss our approach to designing the new route.

Lower Thames Crossing information session in Gravesend last week

Lower Thames Crossing information session in Gravesend last week

We plan to increase our engagement with communities as we head towards our statutory consultation in 2018.


As Tim reiterated in his keynote speech, “Our designs have to be sympathetic, creative, enhancing, engaging and well thought through. I believe our transparency will give us authenticity as we stand in harmony and parity with local communities, making them a better and healthier place to live.”

Media enquiries


For Lower Thames Crossing media enquiries, journalists and other media representatives should contact Highways England’s press office


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