Lower Thames Crossing

Tagged with: Casework status: Open Casework type: Transport Site designations: Ramsar site Site designations: SAC Site designations: SPA Site designations: SSSI
Aerial shot over Shorne Marshes RSPB Reserve, Kent


Highways England are currently consulting on a new crossing on the Lower Thames as an additional route to the existing Dartford crossings.

The preferred route for a new Lower Thames Crossing was announced by the Government on 12 April 2017 and comprises a bored tunnel between Shorne in Kent and Tilbury in Essex, with associated new road links. The route entails tunnelling under the RSPB reserve at Shorne Marshes.

The mudflats, saltmarsh and grazing land here are part of the Thames Estuary and Marshes Special Protection Area and Ramsar site.

We are keen to ensure that any crossing that is constructed here avoids causing damage to these important places and we will be rigorously examining the proposals to that end.


Redshank, Tringa totanus Brownsea Island Dorset Wildlife Trust reserve. Dorset, England

Why is it worth fighting for?

The Thames Estuary and Marshes SPA/Ramsar is protected as an internationally important site for wildfowl as they overwinter during their migration from colder climes. 

The area is also used heavily during the spring and autumn migration periods by birds breaking their journey and stopping to rest and feed. 

In addition to being an important area for wintering and passage wildfowl, RSPB Shorne Marshes is one of the most important sites for breeding waders in the North Kent Marshes. We have been working closely with landowners in the area to ensure that water levels and grazing regimes help birds such as lapwing and redshank.

How you can help

We are currently reviewing the proposals in detail and will be adding more information here once we have done so.

Our position

We recognise that the Lower Thames Crossing development threatens to change this area forever and carries a significant threat to our wildlife and the places they depend upon. The Thames Estuary and Marshes are protected as an internationally important site for wintering and passage wildfowl as well as supporting birds of prey. The whole area provides a rich mosaic of feeding, roosting and breeding habitats for birds and RSPB Shorne Marshes is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Ramsar site.

We are keen to ensure that all work undertaken causes the very least disturbance to the species and habitats in the area and that rigorous safeguards are in place to protect the hydrology of the grazing marshes and also the ancient woodland here. We are actively engaged with the consultation process and made recommendations throughout to ensure the best outcome for wildlife in this special part of the south east's landscape.

We will continue to be closely involved in all aspects of proposals including the progress of the survey work that is due to take place over a two year period starting in April 2017. 


  • 2025-2027
    New crossing opens
  • April 2017
    Government announcement on route, location and type of crossing
  • 26 January–24 March 2016
    Public consultation on recommendations
  • December 2013
    The Government commissions Highways England with assessing two locations for a new crossing, at locations A (Dartford) and C (East of Gravesend).