The issue of when the government would give the go-ahead for a new crossing was raised by the Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti in the Commons.
During questions to the business minister Margot James, he asked: “Taking into account the government’s commitment to investment in infrastructure, which will assist businesses in Medway and Kent, can the minister confirm the government’s commitment to a Lower Thames Crossing along with extra investment for Kent roads which will provide connectivity for local businesses?”
The minister replied: “The Department for Transport will make an announcement on the issue that [Mr Chishti] has raised but he should be reassured that Kent County Council and the relevant business organisations are working closely with my department to ensure there are extensive improvements to the transport infrastructure in his constituency and the wider county.”
There had been speculation that the government would signal the go ahead in last year’s Autumn statement, but there was no announcement.
The preferred option of a crossing east of Gravesend linking the M25, A13, M2 and M20 has divided opinion.
Gravesham county councillor Bryan Sweetland said he expected there would have to be an announcement before the so-called “purdah period” ahead of county council elections in May.
That is a convention under which announcements which may be construed as favouring a political party are placed on hold. That would mean that a cut-off date would be March 22.
“We have been kept hanging around and it is time they said what they wanted. It was supposed to happen last year and we heard nothing.”