Thursday, 22 November 2007

Caroline Lucas on KIG


The planned development of Kent International Gateway will harm rural village life, increase traffic congestion and inflict considerable damage on the local environment, a Euro-MP for the South East has warned.

Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas has voiced apprehension over a recently submitted planning application which outlines a strategy for the construction of Kent International Gateway by insurance giant AXA.

In a letter to Maidstone Borough Council, Dr Lucas condemned the proposed development on a rural site near to the village of Bearsted as “inappropriate” and “environmentally irresponsible”. Having listened closely to the concerns of local people, she also warned that quality of life in the area would be negatively affected.

Dr Lucas said: “The plans to develop Kent International Gateway fail to take into account its potentially negative social and environmental impact on local communities. The proposal poses a substantial threat to life in the village of Bearsted and beyond, and is worryingly close to Bearsted Green Conservation Area.

“Residents cherish the land for its natural beauty but proposed construction work would demand the removal of a significant number of trees and landscape features.”

The Green MEP continued: “Furthermore, the roads in the area are simply not designed for such a volume of traffic, and lorries using the 24-hour KIG facility would need to travel day and night through junctions 7 to 3 - the most congested parts of the M25.

“We should be decreasing CO2 emissions and switching from roads to rails in line with government policies, not increasing the traffic on the roads and pollution in the skies.

“I do not believe that the planners have adequately considered alternative sites for the KIG. In addition, they have admitted that only half of jobs created would go to local people, throwing into further doubt the supposed benefit to local communities.”

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