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    Reverse health and social care act - NHS back in public hands
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Category: "Rail and transport"

Medway Green Party responds to proposed new Thames crossing

By Press Officer on Feb 3, 2016 | In Medway, Environment, Medway, Environment, Medway environment, Rail and transport | Send feedback »

Medway Green Party has responded to the recently launched consultation from Highways England about the proposed new Lower Thames Crossing. Highways England have recommended a multi-billion pound scheme including a tunnel east of Gravesend and Tilbury and a new dual carriageway running from the M2 in Kent to the M25 in Essex.

Highways England claims that this project will bring economic benefits to the South East and will help to reduce congestion at the current Dartford crossing. However, Greens argue that this project is short-sighted and flawed.

Medway Green Party Membership Officer, Steve Dyke says:
“Far from tackling congestion, any benefits are likely to be quickly eroded by an increase in road travel.  We are also very concerned about the wider impact it would have on residents and the environment on both sides of the Thames.  The new crossing will do little or nothing to alleviate the existing high levels of pollution at Dartford and will additionally impact residents elsewhere, in terms of increased noise and reduced air quality.  Locally this would include those in Strood, near the proposed enhanced junction with the M2, and those in the villages on the route of the new dual carriageway, such as Higham, Chalk and Shorne.

“Increased traffic around the area will put additional pressure on our already stretched road network and yet more green space and wildlife will be sacrificed in the name of spurious economic growth, including through possible infill development. Highways England has admitted in their Consultation Booklet that development will impact on greenbelt land, the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, irreplaceable ancient woodland and other environmentally sensitive sites”.

The Green Party is pushing for greater investment in alternative transport measures such as the rail networks [1], which will help tackle air and noise pollution, rather than an extension of the road networks and high levels of pollutants associated with them [2].

Green Party Kent County Councillor, Martin Whybrow, says:
"Kent has some of the highest air pollution levels in the country, and developing further road networks does nothing to counter this. With air pollution in Kent responsible for hundreds of deaths every year, it's time to stop pouring money into more polluting roads. We need cleaner, sustainable travel options that move people and freight away from vehicles, for the sake of people's health and the sake of our environment. "

Steve Dyke adds: “The billions of pounds to be spent on this scheme could be better invested in measures which reduce pollution and tackle the urgent issue of climate change.  We need a smarter transport strategy”.

Medway Green Party is urging concerned residents to respond to the consultation.

Details and the online survey can be found on the Highways England
website. https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/cip/lower-thames-crossing-consultation/consult_view

The consultation ends on 24th March 2016.

Ongoing news on this proposal can be found by visiting the Medway Green Party Facebook page.


[1] Green MP Caroline Lucas's Railways Bill calls for the railways to
be brought back into public hands, to improve investment in our rails
and to ensure affordability and access:

[2] Pollution from road traffic, and particularly from diesel fumes,
is a key contributor to deadly air pollution. The key pollutants of
concern are Particulate Matter and Nitrogen Dioxide which are
particularly threatening to human health.



Air Pollution in Medway – Response to Medway Council’s draft Air Quality Action Plan (2015)

By Press Officer on Sep 6, 2015 | In Medway, Environment, Medway, Environment, Medway environment, Rail and transport | Send feedback »

Please find below a response to Medway Council’s draft Air Quality Action Plan (2015) prepared by Medway Green Party secretary, John Little. This was out to consultation until the end of August. The document prepared by Medway Council highlighted that air pollution is a major issue within the UK, which reduces life expectancy by an average of 7-8 months with estimated equivalent health costs of up to £20 billion each year.


The Green Party welcome the Council’s Action plan. However, while it does touch on the main issues,  Medway Greens believe far more could be done to address air pollution. These include the following measures:-

1) Promote a Switch from car use to Public Transport

(i) We would encourage the Council to divert funding from roads to public transport and cycle routes. The Council’s action plan includes road improvements on the assumption that that this will speed the flow of traffic and so reduce pollution. As Greens our concern is that this investment may simply increase the overall volume of road traffic. A more effective approach may be to use these funds to  enhance public transport and cycle routes.

(ii) While we welcome the Council’s commitment to promote public transport, this does appear at odds with the recent cuts in bus services. The Green Party would encourage the Council to liaise with the bus company to seek to reverse these cuts. Ideally the Council and the bus companies should consult with passangers on routes and their frequency. A further issue is the high cost of fares for non subsidised passengers

(iii) Another area for potential improvement is to ensure integration between bus timetables and train services.

2) Reduce the Amount of Freight on the Roads

The Medway Green party would seek to reduce the amount of freight carried by road. Where practical the Council should encourage a transfer of freight from roads onto the rail network. In addition the Council should promote local sourcing of goods and services. This would not only be more environmentally friendly but would also benefit the local economy.

3) Cycle Network

The Medway Greens welcome the Council’s commitment to improve the cycle network. Cycling could replace a number of short car journeys and also has positive benefits for health and fitness.Our concern is that the existing network is rather fragmented. We would support a comprehensive and dedicated cycle route throughout the Medway towns, which provides cyclists with their own space separated from other road traffic and pedestrians.

4) Walking

The Green Party would encourage the Council to review the main pedestrian routes in Medway. Pedestrians often have to share pavements with parked cars and cycles, which may cause problems for the non able bodied or parents with push chairs or prams. It is also important to confirm that there are sufficient crossing points. Many of the immediate pedestrian routes around rail stations are particularly poor. Improvements to these routes and possible extension of pedestrian areas in town centres may encourage more people to leave their cars at home .

Medway Green Party Join Protest at Failed Railway System

By Rochester and Strood on Jan 23, 2015 | In National politics, Rail and transport | Send feedback »

Medway Green Party members joined a country wide protest on Monday against rising ticket prices, both outside Gillingham Railway station and as travelling commuters.

Full story »