TWO council leaders have joined forces to battle against plans for a new Thames crossing.

Gravesham council’s leader Mike Snelling and Thurrock council’s leader John Kent vowed to fight proposals for the lower Thames last week.

It follows Kent County Council’s (KCC) Growth without Gridlock report on December 1 that revealed funding and logistics for the crossing.

The report favoured Chadwell in Essex and the east of Gravesend as the location, and plans are currently being looked over by the Department for Transport.

Councillor Snelling said: “I am very pleased that we can stand alongside Thurrock council to fight the scheme.

“Planning considerations will be immense and we are wary about giving permission for such a project.

“This is an area where both councils will co operate on and demonstrate a unity in.

“It is issue which transcends mere party politics because it is about defending local communities and goes to the very heart of the Localism Agenda itself.

“The views of the people most affected and their elected representatives must be sought and taken fully into account.”

KCC hopes plans for a new crossing will ease congestion and traffic pollution on the Dartford crossing.

But Gravesham council condemns the proposal on the environmental impact it will have on nearby and the potential impact it will have on property value.

It instead suggests increasing the existing capacity at the Dartford crossing and overcoming air quality issues by removing the tolls.

Councillor Kent says alternatives should be considered before plans for a new crossing are given the go-a-head.

He said: “Before going to the expense of building another crossing and blighting land on both sides of the river — financially and environmentally — the tolls should either be removed entirely or replaced by a number plate recognition system to allow the free flow of traffic.”

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Kent committee member Alex Hills says he welcomes the union between Gravesham and Thurrock.

He said: “There is a massive amount of opposition against this and KCC may well be taken by surprise.

“The crossing will encourage unsustainable traffic plans and won’t relieve the congestion problem.

“It was also jeopardise agricultural land between Gravesham and Medway which doesn’t make sense.”