Yesterday a group of local parties and activists gathered in the rain for a mini-excursion across the Thames using the local ferry serivce. The aim was to highlight the lack of public transport in the Gravesham / Dartford area and to draw attention to a proposed tram solution.
Those present included candidates in the upcoming general election – Marna Gilligan for the Gravesham Green Party, Andy Blatchford for the Dartford Green Party, James Willis for the Liberal Democrats and Mandy Garford for the Labor Party. Local activists included Alex Hills from the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Gordon Pratt from KenEx Thames Transit. A number of other supporters joined them at the Three Daws pub by the Gravesend pier to discuss options for local transport that would replace the need for the Option C Thames Crossing proposal.
Central to the discussion was the agreement that a multi-pronged approach is needed to solve the transport problems in the area. Gordon presented a case study from Peru when introducing the the idea of a light-rail solution to encompass the needs of North Kent locals and visitors, with the new Paramount development being a strong factor for increased visitor levels in the future.
Alex announced a new report on the CPRE website – The end of the road? Challenging the road building consenses. This report reveals that road-building is failing to provide the congestion relief and economic boost promised, while devastating the environment. It directly challenges government claims that ‘the economic gains from road investment are beyond doubt’; that road-building will lead to ‘mile a minute’ journeys; and that the impact on the environment will be limited ‘as far as possible’. The report shows how road building over the past two decades has repeatedly failed to live up to similar aims.