A £4BILLION plan for a new road and rail link between Canvey and Kent has been mooted again, as part of a consultation over flood protection measures in the Thames Estuary.

The ambitious proposal, put forward by private consortium Metrotidal, would involve building a tunnel connecting south west Canvey to the Hoo Peninsula, in Kent.

The tunnel would be linked to Sadlers Farm roundabout by a dual-carriageway, which would also provide a third road on and off the island.

The company put forward the project in a consultation with the Environment Agency over its 2100 tidal flood risk plan, which will be used to form its strategy on flooding.

Independent Castle Point MP Dr Bob Spink learnt of the company’s submission in a Commons written answer from environment minister Huw Irranca-Davies.

He said: “People from Canvey would not want the environmental devastation such a big project would no doubt involve.

“We don’t need this dubious, privately-financed scheme when a third access road should be provided by the local authority.”

Metrotidal’s project, which was first revealed in the Echo in February 2008, would also include a rail crossing through the same tunnel – with Canvey getting its own station, near Northwick Road.

Mark Willingale, director of Metrotidal, said his project was the only way for Canvey to get a third access road.

He said: “Canvey has a relatively small population, so financing a third road doesn’t make economic sense.

“However, if you combine it with a major infrastructure project that could benefit the whole region, then it would make sense.”

There is no funding in place, but Metrotidal aims to attract foreign investors The scheme would also have an environmental dimension. A tidal barrier would be built across part of the Thames that could generate enough electricity to power the train line. A tidal lagoon is also planned.

There would also be some land reclamation and development on Canvey to help developers recoup their costs. Investors could also make a return through road tolls or rail charges.

However, Ray Howard, Essex County Councillor for Canvey, is also against the scheme. He said: “Any crossing is going to create a huge amount of traffic and pollution.

“Look what the Dartford crossing has done to Thurrock.”