The Lower Thames Crossing and the environment
Our countryside is home to some amazing plants, animals and habitats, many of them being protected by law. Knowing exactly what’s out there and where they are is vital to making sure we protect and support them.
We’re carrying out detailed surveys to understand what habitats are in the area around the Project, and the wildlife they support. This information helps us come up with ways to avoid or reduce our impact on the woodland, grasslands, wetlands and marshes present within Kent and Essex. A big part of this has been through the route location and in choosing a bored tunnel in order to have as little an impact as possible on these important features. 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 enclosed within the landscape to provide natural screening and noise barriers.
We’ll keep testing, analysing and developing our design, and incorporating new measures to reduce environmental effects as part of our Environmental Impact Assessment. All these will be reported in detail within the Environmental Statement (ES). The ES will be submitted later this year as part of our Development Consent Order application.
Hole Farm in Essex is located alongside the route of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing, directly adjacent to the improvement works proposed for the M25, and north of Junction 29. Hole Farm will be a new community woodland as large as 135 football pitches. The 100 hectare site will offer homes for a wide range of wildlife, and will be planted with around 150,000 trees. Managed by Forestry England, the woodland will be for people too, and could include facilities such as a café, education centre and community orchard.
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 planted and managed to provide high quality habitat designed to support a range of wildlife.
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.