March 27, 2024

Lower Thames Crossing: March 2024 update

Specialist compulsory purchase order solicitor, Melanie Francis, takes a look at the most recent announcement regarding the Lower Thames Crossing scheme.

The Lower Thames Crossing is a proposed new road to ease congestion in the Dartford Crossing and on busy sections of the A2, M2 and A13. The Dartford Crossing is the only road crossing the Thames east of London. A significant amount of the  UK’s port freight traffic use the Dartford Crossing.

As a result of the current unreliable road infrastructure in this area the draft Development Consent Order for the Lower Thames Crossing was issued in October 2022. The Order was made by National Highways to attempt to improve the congestion and delays.

Development Consent Orders were introduced by the Planning Act 2008  as a means of streamlining decision-making processes for major infrastructure projects, with the stated aim of making the procedures fairer and faster for communities and applicants alike.

Development Consent Orders authorise the development and use of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs); these are major proposals in excess of a prescribed size relating to energy, transport, water, waste and waste-water which are considered by the Government to be of such importance that permission to build and operate them needs to be confirmed at national level by the relevant Secretary of State. A single duly authorised Development Consent Order will confer all the necessary consents/powers to enable the scheme to proceed, including planning permission, compulsory purchase powers, authority for highway and street works, listed building consents etc. It is no longer necessary to secure a raft of different consents from different bodies to enable an NSIP scheme to proceed – a single Development Consent Order does it all.

On the 20th December 2023 the Lead Member of the Panel of Examining Inspectors confirmed that the Examination of the application had been completed and the findings and conclusions arising from the examination together with their recommendations have been sent to the Secretary of State for Transport on the 21st March 2024.

The examining authority examines the key issues arising from the application for the Development Consent Order which includes considering representations made in writing by the Applicant (National Highways) and Interested Parties. Various hearings have been conducted to obtain answers to questions that the examining inspectors may have. The Hearings also allows the Applicant and any Interested Parties the opportunity to speak. As a result of the Hearings and finding the application is made to the Secretary of State who then takes the decision whether or not to grant the Development Consent Order.

We are expecting a decision from the Secretary of State by the end of June 2024. Once the decision has been issued there is a six-week period in which the decision may be challenged in the High Court.

Holmes and Hills currently advises and represents a number of individuals affected by the proposed Lower Thames Crossing Development Consent Order. We have a wealth of experience preparing cases for and representing clients from the outset. We aim to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients, with upmost considerations to the client’s objectives.

If you are affected by the Lower Thames Crossing Scheme and would like to talk to us please contact our dedicated compulsory purchase solicitors.  

Get specialist planning law advice

Call us on 01206 593933 today to speak with one of our planning law team. Or complete the form below.

Key Contact

Melanie Francis


View Profile

Receive the latest legal updates

Get important legal updates, news and opinion sent to you straight from our solicitors.
Sign Up

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram