Exploring the possibility of extending Crossrail from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet has been listed as a priority for a government growth commission.

Set to open in Abbey Wood later this year, the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission has confirmed that assessing the extension of the line to Ebbsfleet is a priority.

Since it was established in March 2016, The Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission has been working to develop plans for north Kent and south Essex.

Sir John Armitt, who was announced as the new chairman at the Budget, visited Abbey Wood's recently opened station to outline the Commission’s areas of focus for the coming months.

Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford, reiterated the importance of extending the line into Kent.

Speaking to News Shopper, he said: "Securing the extension of Crossrail to Ebbsfleet is extremely important and is something I have worked on with the Government.

"It makes perfect sense to connect Crossrail with HS1 which would have a positive local and regional impact."

Sajid Javid, communities and local government secretary, said: "It’s long been known that the Thames Estuary has vast economic potential and, as a government, we’re determined to capitalise on this for the benefit of local communities and national growth."

Final priorities will published in the spring, with the Elizabeth line due to open in December.

Crossrail will carry 200 million passengers a year, and boost the economy by £42 billion, according to TfL.

The line will hit 41 stations across a 60 mile stretch running through the city, taking passengers from Abbey Wood to Paddington in just 28 minutes

The commission's full priority is: "Making the most of planned investments such as the Lower Thames Crossing, and assessing the case for other investments that have been proposed, such as further river crossings and extending the Elizabeth line to Ebbsfleet."

The long-awaited Lower Thames Crossing will cost an estimated £4.4 billion and create 6,000 new jobs.

The new crossing is not expected to be completed until 2027, but will take pressure off the Dartford Crossing which routinely operates above its capacity, with 55 million journeys being made a year.