PF2 decision 'won't impact' Lower Thames timeline

The UK's decision to abolish PF2 will not affect progress on the Lower Thames Crossing, a Highways England director has insisted.

Speaking at the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum in London, David Manning, director of tunnels at Highways England, said there remains strong support from locals for the project and it continues to be "of high strategic need".

Responding to a question from Partnerships Bulletin on the impact of the decision to cut PF2, Manning said: "We are ploughing ahead and committed to open the road in 2027. The government remains committed to it."

Setting out the timeline for the scheme, Manning also said that Highways England would keep re-evaluating its proposal in consultation with the local communities until it submits its Development Consent Order in late 2019.

Uncertainty remains over how the Lower Thames Crossing, and proposed A303 tunnel, will be funded following the abolition of PF2. Highways England's chief executive  Jim O'Sullivan has suggested the schemes will have to be publicly funded, although no money has yet been allocated for them.