The Lower Thames Crossing and the environment

Lower Thames Crossing - Environment

Our approach

Our countryside is home to some amazing plants, animals and habitats, and many of them are protected by law. Knowing exactly where they are is vital to making sure we protect them.

We’re carrying out detailed surveys to understand wildlife populations and their movements. These will help us come up with ways to best avoid or reduce, our impact on the protected areas such as riverside marshes and the river bed. We’ve already done this to an extent through the route location and choosing a bored tunnel in order to have as little an impact as possible on these special areas. For more information on ecology surveys, view our fact sheet.

We’re also doing detailed noise modelling and air quality assessments. Using the data from these, we’ll develop solutions, to reduce the effects of traffic noise, such as using specific road surfaces or keep the road (in cutting) within the landscape to provide natural screening and noise barriers.

We’ll keep testing, analysing and developing new measures to reduce environmental effects as as part of our Environmental Impact Assessment. All these will be reported in detail within the Environmental Statement (ES), which will also be include consultation responses, and further survey and design work. The ES will be submitted later this year with of our Development Consent Order application.

Landscape

We want to develop a project that respects, and responds to, its local context and history. We’re taking great care in designing the landscape along the route, including the structures we intend to build, such as bridges, viaducts and buildings as well as the proposed parks and public spaces.

We’re keen for these structures to blend in with local surroundings as sympathetically as possible. We’re proposing to build green bridges along the route with features such as timber barriers and bollards, gravel, coppice woodland, ground cover planting and shrubs. To improve the visual and noise impact of the road we’ll keep it as low as possible within the landscape to provide natural screening.

An informal public space, Chalk Park, would be created around the southern tunnel entrance to improve local biodiversity and ecological connectivity.

At the northern entrance, we’ll reflect the existing flat, open landscape by creating new earthwork landforms along the River Thames. The earthworks would provide wide-ranging views out towards the Thames Estuary and be reminiscent of the historic coastal defences found within this stretch of the river. These will use the excavated material from the tunnel and will be restored to grazing agricultural use.

Once we’ve analysed all the feedback from our consultations, we’ll put together an Environmental Statement that assesses the likely environmental effects of the project, drawing on consultation responses and further survey and design work. This will be available to view in our application for Development Consent Order.

Landscape areas explained

Ramsar site

A wetland of international importance.

Site of Special Scientific Interest

Provides statutory protection for the best examples of the UK’s flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

To conserve areas of natural beauty – which includes wildlife features, cultural heritage, landscape and scenery.

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