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Newspaper Columns

KM Column - 31 May 2018 - Smart Motorway Scheme

In recent workshops held by Highways England, we heard about plans for the M20 Smart Motorway scheme. We’ve heard how they will manage to improve two lanes with new, quieter tarmac and give more space when the traffic is heavy.

But there is a downside too. The works have seen trees cut down and noise increase without the mitigation needed. I’ve complained to Highways England and met with them often to get a better outcome for everyone living nearby.

We haven’t yet succeeded. There are no noise barriers in rural locations, no immediate planting scheme, and no resurfacing of all the lanes on the carriageway.

I’ve spoken about this many times and share the frustration of many of us that they should recognise the magnitude of these problems and their impact on people living nearby. That’s why I’m raising this again.

Of course, it’s not just our community that’s affected. In Chatham and Aylesford there are many people facing the same problem so I’m working with neighbouring MP Tracey Crouch, to get the right answer.

We’ve written together to Highways England expressing our disappointment at their response. We have asked for them to look again at the noise mitigation planned, and this time provide some improvements. We’ve also raised this with Government, because the evidence is very clear: people’s lives will be made harder by the noise and that’s not acceptable.

Together, Tracey and I will keep the pressure on Highways England and the government and continue to keep you updated on their response - when we get receive it. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about the M20 Smart Motorway and feel you aren’t getting answers from Highways England, please let me know at tom.tugendhat.mp@parliament.uk, and I will write to them for a response.

Georgie Welford