THE proposed £10 billion Lower Thames Crossing will only relieve congestion at the Dartford Crossing for five years, an investigation has revealed.

Thurrock Council has repeatedly opposed the scheme claiming it is “of little benefit to the borough” and has raised concerns over the loss of green belt land.

Submissions made to the Government, which is expected to determine whether the scheme can go ahead this year, include those made by the council.

Chris Stafford, the council’s planning consultant, said traffic modelling had been used to assess the impact the new crossing would have on congested roads around Thurrock.

Speaking at a Lower Thames Crossing task force meeting on Monday, Mr Stafford said: “Our modelling team have calculated, and this was rebutted by National Highways of course, that once this opens, the traffic levels will be back to how they are now within five years of opening.

“The maybe £10 billion of cost will only relieve the Dartford Crossing for something like five years.

“It will create lots of additional queuing and delays on the local road network prior to any local plan growth that might come forward.

“You’ve got to ask yourself whether it’s worth it.”

Mr Stafford added: “They predict on the new road 26 fatalities and 182 seriously injured per year. It was all rejected by National Highways but without evidence.

“There were an extra 6.6 million tonnes of Co2 created by the project and a target ten per cent bio diversity net gain will not be delivered.”

Mr Stafford said the cost of the scheme per mile exceeded the scrapped northern HS2 project.

Fraser Massey, chairman of the task force, said: “It’s very expensive. It’s very damaging to the green belt and our lungs too, and the actual benefit to cost ratio is so low and to the local economic market, so it’s not going to be much good.”

The Government, which is expected to make a decision this year, has said if the scheme is given the go ahead, it will be delayed by two years. The earliest start date for the project would be 2026, with completion in 2032. However, the task force heard some of the work compounds could be constructed ahead of the start of the scheme.