They say that the new crossing is needed to promote trade through Kent and Essex ports.
Their letter says: “The Channel, London and Medway port operations account for in excess of a quarter of the UK’s GDP in trade. That trade, combined with other business traffic, currently flows through the highly unreliable Dartford crossings, which suffer from over 300 standstill delays per annum. The Department for Transport estimates traffic through this international business corridor will grow by 41% over the next 20 years. It is imperative that we have high quality infrastructure to help alleviate this bottleneck to maintain fluidity and allow us to boost trade and compete with the Continent.”
They add: “We urge the government to make a swift decision on the preferred route, with a firm timetable and financial package for its delivery.”
Signatories include DP World London Gateway, Port of Tilbury, Port of Dover, Port of London Authority, Navigator Terminals, London Southend Airport, Eurotunnel, Claridon Group, the Freight Transport Association, the Road Haulage Association, the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, Essex Chamber of Commerce, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Intu Lakeside, Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, The Kent Developers Group, Glenny, St Modwen and Cogent Land.
Highways England is proposing to bore twin road tunnels under the River Thames to the east of the Dartford Crossing near Gravesend to create a new 14.2-mile road between the M2 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30. The estimated cost of the scheme is between £4.3bn and £5.9bn.
The government has said it is committed to the scheme but still has to confirm its route choice and give Highways England approval to submit a development consent order application.