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Summary

  1. Our live coverage has ended
  2. Updates on Wednesday 12 April 2017

Live Reporting

By Kathryn Langley and Bob Dale

All times stated are UK

Get involved

That's it for today

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

Thanks for joining us - we'll be back in tomorrow at 06:00 BST with all your news, sport, travel and weather.

Is there anything you'd like to tell us about?

You can get in touch on Twitter, on Facebook or by sending us an email.

Thames Crossing: 'This is a scandal'

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

The MP in whose constituency the new Lower Thames Crossing will be built says a "historic opportunity" has been missed.

Charge over stolen stickers

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

A teenager's been charged with stealing £127.50's worth of football stickers from a shop in Maidstone.

The 18-year-old appeared before magistrates in the town, charged with one count of theft.

He was bailed to reappear on 28 April.

#ICYMI: Huge fire destroys camp housing 1,500 migrants in France

A camp housing 1,500 migrants in northern France was destroyed in a fire that officials said began during a fight.

At least 10 people were injured when the fire tore through closely-packed huts at the Grande-Synthe camp, near the port of Dunkirk.

Last month, officials said the camp would be dismantled because of unrest.

Sacked judge continues to deny claims

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

A lawyer from Kent, sacked as a part-time judge over allegations he used social media to post comments about cases he was involved in, is protesting his innocence.

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office found the behaviour of Jason Dunn-Shaw fell below the expected standard, after one man was called a "donkey" and another "stupid".

But speaking to BBC Radio Kent this afternoon, he claimed someone else left the posts on a newspaper website.

Tunnel is 'tragedy for Thurrock', says resident

A Thurrock man has told BBC Essex why the new tunnel will be a "tragedy" for the area.

View more on twitter

Illegal waste mountain man is jailed

A man responsible for a 40,000 tonne mountain of illegal waste near Sittingbourne is jailed for eight months.  

In a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency, John Millen from Murston, near Sittingbourne pleaded guilty to dumping the waste at the Kent site without a permit

There's the chance of some showers

Nina Ridge

BBC Weather

Well, it is spring, after all.

Here's my forecast.

Thames Crossing: Grayling says he's listened

Rajdeep Sandhu

Political Reporter, BBC Radio Kent

Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, turned up 40 minutes late to his own press call. Unfortunately the traffic gods didn't look favourably upon him today. It gave him a taste of what it's like for some people in Dartford on a daily basis. 

Despite some people feeling Option C was a foregone conclusion, I'm told it wasn't, and the Transport Secretary gave serious consideration to option A. But in the end he didn't change his mind from what Highways England proposed.

But Chris Grayling told me, he'd listened to people's concerns, saying he'd opted for the road to go west of Shorne “precisely because I thought it was going to have a really negative impact on the village”. 

Is that perhaps an olive branch for people who are fierce campaigners against Option C altogether? There will be more environmental surveys and public consultations and campaigners have already said they won't be giving up the fight. 

Who is Poly Styrene?

A new film about South East X-Ray Spex singer Poly Styrene is in the works.

Here are some facts you might not have known about her... 

Thames Crossing: Good news for Dartford?

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

The announcement of a new tunnel between Gravesend and Tilbury to ease pressure on the Dartford Crossing is going down well in Dartford town centre.

New Thames Crossing: Here's a look at what it means

Following today's announcement on the new crossing over the Thames, we take a closer look at the issue.

Have you got a story which needs to be investigated?

If so get in touch with the award-winning BBC South East investigations team.  

Kent mental health services improve

Dan Maclaren

BBC Live reporter

The mental health trust serving Kent and Medway has been rated as "Good" by inspectors. Two years ago it was assessed as "requiring improvement". 

The Care Quality Commission said Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership is now good overall and outstanding for being caring, but still has serious safety issues it needs to address.

Thames Crossing: 'More con than consultation'

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

A historic Kent church will be cut off from its parish by the new Lower Thames Crossing.

Its vicar's hitting out at the consultation process which lead to the decision.

Thames Crossing: Our reporter's on her way... slowly

Helen Catt

Political editor, BBC South East

Oh the irony. I'm on my way to report on the announcement of a new Lower Thames Crossing but we're stuck in traffic. At the Dartford Crossing.

The fact that something needs to be done about congestion here is barely disputed.

The government thinks its new tunnel east of Gravesend is the answer, promising an £8 billion boost to the economy in return for it's £4-6 billion spend.

But critics dispute how much traffic it will actually take away from Dartford and worry about how much it will put on to the A2.

Perhaps the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling can answer their concerns? Provided, of course, the traffic doesn't keep him from his own press call.

Thames Crossing: 'Over 70% additional capacity on the road'

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

The Freight Transport Association says today's announcement that a tunnel will link Gravesend and Tilbury is great news for the haulage industry, and the east of Kent.

Travel delays on Dartford Crossing

Drivers are being warned to allow extra time for journeys following an accident on the Dartford Crossing.

View more on twitter

Up, up and away

Stuart Maisner

BBC Live reporter

Did you miss this on Friday? The pictures are just stunning.

A world record attempt took place from Dover for the number of hot air balloons crossing the Channel.  

Organisers say 82 balloons that took off from Dover on Friday morning made it to France.

The previous record for the number of balloons flying over the channel was 49.

Severe accident: M25 Essex clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex clockwise severe accident, from J31 for A1306 to J1A for A206 affecting J29 for A127.

M25 Essex - Delays on M25 QE2 Bridge clockwise from J31, A1306 (West Thurrock) to J1a, A206 (Swanscombe), because of an accident involving lorry and three cars earlier on. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to J29, A127 (Romford).

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

We might get some rain overnight...

Georgina Burnett

BBC Weather

After days of dry weather a risk of rain overnight, but another fine day tomorrow.

Here's my forecast.

Thames Estuary tunnel: Your comments

You've been having your say on our Facebook page. 

We want to hear what you think.

You can get in touch on Twitter, on Facebook or by sending us an email.    

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Transport secretary says new tunnel could create 6,000 jobs

It has just been announced that the new Lower Thames Crossing from Essex to Kent will be a tunnel linking Gravesend and Tilbury.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the new route could create 6,000 jobs and boost the economy by £6bn.

The crossing is expected to carry 4.5m lorries in its first year.

The planned route will run from the M25 near North Ockendon, cross the A13 at Orsett, before running under the Thames east of Tilbury and Gravesend.

A new link road will then take traffic to the A2 near Shorne, close to where the route becomes the M2.

Kent & Medway Partnership Trust CQC report
A mental health trust is rated as good by inspectors but some issues still need addressing.

Lower Thames Crossing Reaction

Dan Maclaren

BBC Live reporter

Those for and against the preferred route for a new Lower Thames Crossing have been giving their reaction following its announcement by the government.

 It will create a new link between the A2 in Kent and the M25 in Essex in an attempt to reduce the burden on the busy Dartford Crossing. 

Severe disruption: M20 Kent eastbound

BBC News Travel

M20 Kent eastbound severe disruption, between J6 for A229 and J7 for A249 Maidstone.

M20 Kent - One lane closed on M20 coastbound between J6, A229 (Chatham) and J7, A249 (Maidstone), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

MP 'upset and disappointed' over tunnel announcement

The Conservative MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock said he was "very disappointed and upset" about the announcement of the new Lower Thames Crossing.

Stephen Metcalfe
BBC

Stephen Metcalfe said he was "convinced" a strong case had been made to improve the Dartford Crossing before pressing ahead with any new routes.

He said: "I am pleased the Secretary of State has said he looked closely at our arguments and considered alternatives, but regret he did not fully accept our points and has pushed ahead with what I believe to be a flawed decision. 

"I still believe option C and route 3 is a mistake in terms of addressing my constituents’ concerns about air quality and congestion and I will not stop making that point until the very last moment."

Mr Metcalfe added he will now push for an urgent meeting with the transport secretary.

Severe congestion: M25 Kent anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Kent anti-clockwise severe congestion, at J1A for A282 affecting Marsh Street.

M25 Kent - Delays on M25 Dartford Tunnel anticlockwise at J1a, A282 (Swanscombe). Congestion on A206 Bob Dunn Way to the Marsh Street junction and to J2, A2 (Darenth Interchange).

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Lower Thames Crossing: MP's reaction

Tunnel was most popular option, government says

Most of the 47,000 people who responded to a consultation chose the new tunnel as the preferred river crossing option, according to the Department of Transport

The Dartford Crossing
Alamy

The new Lower Thames Crossing will be designed to cut traffic jams at the Dartford Crossing (pictured).

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said in a statement: "The new Lower Thames Crossing, and other improvements in and around Dartford and Thurrock announced today, will further strengthen our economy while also creating thousands of jobs."

Lower Thames Crossing: Ebbsfleet reaction

We are pleased the Government is in favour of Option C, the option we have always said is essential to the housing and economic growth of the North Kent area as it will divert significant volumes of national and international traffic, most notably freight vehicles, away from the A2/M25 bottleneck

Paul SpoonerInterim Chief Executive, Ebbsfleet Development Corporation

How the papers are reporting the Crossing decision

Printing press
Getty Images

Kent Online: Transport Secretary Chris Grayling arriving in Dartford as Lower Thames Crossing confirmed for east of Gravesend

Kent News: Government confirms Option C - a tunnel east of Gravesend - will be route of Lower Thames Crossing

Kent Live: The location of the new Thames crossing has been announced

Lower Thames Crossing - Statement from Transport Secretary