Over 80% of local businesses support the Lower Thames Crossing, according to survey results from Federation of Small Businesses
A massive 83% have given their backing to the scheme
18 Mar 2021
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Results published this week from a survey conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in November 2020 show that local businesses in Kent, Essex, Thurrock and London have given a clear message – they want to see the Lower Thames Crossing built.
Over half of respondents to the survey said transport congestion was a major challenge for their business. The results reveal that 57% of those surveyed say the Lower Thames Crossing will help their business grow, and almost 80% say that it will give them access to new customers.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) helps smaller businesses achieve their ambitions. Established 45 years ago, the FSB is the UK’s largest grassroots business campaigning group, ensuring the voice of small businesses is heard.
FSB surveyed members in the Kent, Essex, Thurrock and London local areas, to understand their views on the Lower Thames Crossing, and the impact that it could have on their businesses. The results show that the overwhelming majority want to see the Crossing built. The graphic above illustrates some of the headline figures.
The proposed Lower Thames Crossing is the most ambitious road scheme in the UK in over 35 years, and part of a record investment in England’s roads by Highways England. The new crossing will almost double road capacity between Kent and Essex and unlock economic growth by creating a direct, reliable connection between people and jobs, businesses and their customers, and the region’s key ports, distribution hubs and manufacturing centres.
"Despite our movements being restricted in 2020 due to the national lockdowns, many members still support the Lower Thames Crossing and want to see more work, more quickly. The survey results also show a great desire in local firms who want to pitch for contract and supply chain opportunities in this multi-billion pound scheme."Tracey Westell, Federation of Small Businesses Kent Area Leader
Matt Palmer, Executive Director for the Lower Thames Crossing said: “The Dartford Crossing is one of the most crucial road links in the UK, connecting businesses, manufacturing centres, distributions hubs and ports that are not only vital to the local economy, but to the UK. But it is over capacity, and the results of the survey show that local businesses say that doing nothing is not an option.
“When it opens to traffic, the Lower Thames Crossing will almost double capacity and provide a reliable connection that will add billions to the economy. But it also has a more immediate role in the economic recovery from Covid-19 by creating tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of opportunities for local people and businesses.”
Tracey Westell, FSB Kent Area Leader said: “Despite our movements being restricted in 2020 due to the national lockdowns, many members still support the Lower Thames Crossing and want to see more work, more quickly. The survey results also show a great desire in local firms who want to pitch for contract and supply chain opportunities in this multi-billion pound scheme.”
Many businesses, associations and groups want to see the Lower Thames Crossing built. Hear what some of them have to say, and their reasons why.
Highways England is aiming to help local communities take advantage of the opportunities available during the construction phase. 22,000 jobs will be supported by the scheme during construction, including hundreds of apprentices and the first recruitment drive is now taking place for roles beginning later this year.
In December, Highways England launched an SME (Small & Medium Enterprise) Directory, which is a database of local businesses and their specialisms that is given to the main works contractors so they can build a local supply chain. So far, almost 300 SMEs across London, Kent, Essex and Thurrock have signed up. Free training and access to resources from the Supply Chain Sustainability School (SCSS) is also available to help local businesses prepare to bid for work on the Lower Thames Crossing or any other major infrastructure project.