Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England, has issued a statement of support for the Shorne and Higham Action Groups in Kent who are campaigning against the proposed Lower Thames Crossing, east of Gravesend.
In October, Mr. Taylor met with members of the Shorne and Higham Action Groups to listen to their concerns about the proposed ‘Option C’ route, which would pass directly through Shorne, splitting the village in two. The route would run very close to a local primary school, with damaging effects on the children from noise and air pollution. The group has also highlighted protected areas that would be affected and raised concern over a lack of consultation with local residents.
Earlier this year, Mr. Taylor responded to the Highway England consultation on the Lower Thames Crossing, rejecting all four options and urging instead for the money to be redirected to more sustainable alternatives.
Mr. Taylor, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee, said:
“This issue is vitally important, not just to the people of Shorne or to me, but to the planet too. Current proposals for the Lower Thames Crossing are an example of the government’s short-sighted and unsustainable approach to transport planning.
The Government’s road building programme – which includes proposals for the Lower Thames Crossing – is the wrong strategy. The estimated £6 billion which has been earmarked for the new crossing will do nothing to reduce the traffic on our roads, and will only add to the already unacceptable levels of air and noise pollution.
Instead, this money should be redirected towards truly sustainable alternatives such as moving freight from roads onto rail, seas, and waterways.
We also need investment in sustainable public transport options, directed by local communities, to reduce traffic, which would markedly improve the quality of life of residents in Shorne and beyond. Instead, the Government wants to build more roads to accommodate extra traffic at ever-greater environmental costs.
I would like to express my support for the Shorne and Higham Action Groups who are putting in a fantastic effort to raise awareness of the air and noise pollution problems associated with the proposed new crossing – I urge Highways England and the Transport Secretary to take their concerns seriously.”
As the Green MEP for the South East, Keith campaigns for integrated, efficient, sustainable and affordable public transport systems. In the European Parliament, Keith takes a lead on developing the South East’s huge potential for sustainable transport.