This week it was revealed that the Dartford Crossing was excluded from Government air quality assessments because it was classed as a ‘rural’ road. This status meant nitrogen dioxide recordings were not reported to the EU.
Calling the Dartford Crossing, arguably one of the busiest stretches of road in the UK, a ‘rural’ road would be laughable if it wasn’t such a serious issue.
The crossing, which although seems part of the M25 is in fact classed as an ‘A’ road and has around fifty million vehicles using it every year. As we all know, it is so overstretched than whenever there is an incident, the crossing and the surrounding roads in Dartford come to a standstill.
What makes this mistake even more ridiculous is that it is well known that Dartford has one of the highest percentage of deaths that can be attributed to long-term exposure to particulate air pollution in the south east according to figures from Public Health England. Much of this air pollution comes directly from the crossing itself.
Now it has been highlighted, the error will be rectified and the Government has said it will include Dartford’s results in any future assessments sent to the EU. However, the issue of air pollution in Dartford remains.
This issue has been a major problem in Dartford for many years and it is only going to get worse as more and more traffic uses the Dartford Crossing. A new crossing, well away from Dartford, east of Gravesend, should ease our town’s traffic problems and the knock-on pollution effects.
I anticipate the Department for Transport will make the decision on the location of the next Lower Thames Crossing soon, so work can begin and the on-going misery for residents caused by the Dartford Crossing can be reduced.