A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling

Project status:   Planned


Start date:   TBC
End date:  TBC


Type:   Major Scheme
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Major Scheme

Part of our programme of improvements (value >10m)

Cost:  TBC


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On 8th May 2012, the Roads Minister Mike Penning, announced that funding would be provided to develop the A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling scheme, to ensure a "pipeline" of future Highways Agency major infrastructure improvements will be maintained, contributing to future economic growth, and supporting Government's National Infrastructure Plan.

By developing the scheme now, it will be in a good position to be considered for delivery in the early years of the next spending review period (post 2015). 

A Public Inquiry for the scheme was held between 14 May and 9 July 2013. The Public Inquiry Inspector's report and recommendations and the Secretary of State's decision on whether or not the scheme will go ahead are expected in late 2013 or early 2014.

Documents and notes published by the Highways Agency in the lead up to the Public Inquiry can be reviewed on the publications page.

Evidence and other documents submitted to the Public Inquiry by the Highways Agency, other organisations and members of the public can be viewed at:

http://​www​.persona​.uk​.com/​A​2​1​T​o​n​/​i​n​d​e​x​.​htm

It is important to note that by advancing this scheme through its development phase, this does not guarantee its construction; this decision will be taken at the next spending review. For more information visit our Future Spending Review page.

What is happening?

We are proposing to upgrade the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury to dual 2-lane carriageway standard with grade separated junctions at the Fairthorne and Longfield Road Junctions at the south end of the scheme. Segregated access roads will be provided to give access to the existing properties along this section of the A21, with the provision of a separate footpath/cycle way throughout the length of the scheme. The proposal broadly follows the line of the existing A21.

A scheme for an "off line" 3 lane dual carriageway improvement was approved following a Public Inquiry in 1993 but this was cancelled following the 1997 general election. In 1998 a study of the A21 between the M25 and Hastings concluded that an on line scheme for the Tonbridge to Pembury section had the strongest case for addressing congestion and safety concerns in the most environmentally sustainable manner. Revised forecasts of future traffic showed that a 2 lane dual carriageway would be sufficient instead of the previously proposed 3 lane dual carriageway.

Several options were considered during a public consultation exercise at the end of 2002. The Secretary of State announced the preferred route for the A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling in July 2003 and the scheme entered the Government's programme of major schemes.

Draft Compulsory Purchase Order and Highways Act Orders were published on Friday 11 December 2009.  The consultation period for the Draft Orders ended on Friday 5 March 2010. Alternative Proposals for the scheme were received and can be viewed under Publications. The period for commenting on the Alternative Proposals ended Thursday 3 June 2010.

The Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government decided to hold a Public Inquiry which was due to take place in July 2010. However, the Public Inquiry was postponed pending the outcome of the Governments October 2010 Spending Review.

When and where is this happening?

The A21 links the Hastings/Bexhill and Tonbridge Wells/Tonbridge conurbations to the M25 and the trunk road network. The scheme has not yet been approved to go ahead; on 8th May 2012, the Roads Minister Mike Penning, announced that funding would be provided to develop the A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling scheme. By developing the scheme now, it will be in a good position to be considered for delivery in the early years of the next spending review period (post 2015).

It is important to note that by advancing this scheme through its development phase, this does not guarantee its construction; this decision will be taken at the next spending review. For more information visit our Future Spending Review page.

Why is this happening and what will it cost?

Between the M25 and Tonbridge the A21 is a dual 2-lane carriageway standard with grade separated junctions, limited access and no central reserve gaps. Between Tonbridge and Pembury the standard drops immediately to single carriageway with poor horizontal and vertical alignment. This section of the A21 has a poor accident record and experiences severe congestion throughout the day and particularly at peak times. There are no footways on this section and verges are either very narrow or non-existent.

The A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury passes through a very environmentally sensitive area with landscape, cultural heritage, ecological and settlement issues being key constraints to route improvements. Almost the entire route is within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and being an historic route, largely follows the landform.

How will the scheme be carried out?

Several options were considered before the "Preferred Route" was announced in 2003 which protected the line of the proposed scheme for planning purposes. The proposed scheme broadly follows the line of the existing A21.

At the northern end, there would be a minor change to the line of the slip road from the Vauxhall Lane roundabout. A new two level junction, called a "grade separated" junction, will be provided at Fairthorne roughly half way along the scheme. At the southern end the existing roundabout at separated junction. A new footbridge will be provided across the Pembury Bypass at Blackhurst LAne.

Parts of the existing A21 will be retained to provide access to houses, businesses, fields and woodland. A new bridleway for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders will be provided along the whole length of the scheme.

To help us understand the impacts on the environment for these improvements, we have undertaken an environmental impact assessment of the proposals - this is recorded in an Environmental Statement (ES) and a Non Technical Summary (NTS) leaflet of the ES. The full Environmental Statement, Explanatory Statement and Non Technical Summary leaflet can be viewed on the Publications section of this schemes website. An updated and revised ES will be published before the Public Inquiry.

What are the benefits?

The main objectives of the scheme are to:

  • Relieve congestion
  • Improve safety for all road users
  • Improve journey time reliability

How do I find out more information ?

More information will be posted on this project page as it becomes available. You can subscribe to be alerted when updates are made.

If you have any queries about this project you should contact the Highways Agency Information Line by emailing ha_​info@​highways.​gsi.​gov.​uk or calling 0300 123 5000.

The scheme passes through a very sensitive area in environmental terms with landscape, cultural heritage, ecological and property issues being key constraints to route improvements. The scheme is almost entirely within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty ("AONB"). There is a scheduled Ancient Monument (Castle Hill Fort) close to the northern end of the scheme and an RSPB reserve at the south eastern end of the scheme. There are a number of ancient woodland sites to the existing A21.

The environmental objectives of the scheme are to:

  • Mitigate the impact of the scheme on the AONB.
  • Minimise the adverse impact on the RSPB reserve and the Scheduled Ancient Monument.
  • Minimise the impact on ancient woodland.

We have surveyed the local area to assess the effect the scheme would have on the landscape and on plant and animal life. The results of the surveys and the measures we propose for reducing the effect of the scheme are contained in the Envrionmental Statement and are summarised in the Non Technical Summary of the Environmental Statement.

During construction we will use best practice to safeguard the local environment and will plan the construction works to minimise adverse effects on the local community and the environment.

Local Communities and Land Use

Parts of the existing A21 will be retained to provide access to houses, businesses, fields and woodland. Earthmounds and planting would be used to screen the A21 from properties, with noise fences included where they would be effective.

The scheme would require additional land, most of which is good quality arable farmland or woodland. Four houses and one barn would need to be demolished to build the scheme.

A new route for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders would be provided along the length of the scheme, and an additional pedestrian and cycle bridge provided at Blackhurst Lane to facilitate access to Pembury Hospital.

Noise and Vibration

Noise fences and earth mounds with planting would be provided to ensure that all residences currently close to the line of the existing A21 experience a reduction in noise level. Other areas further away from the A21 may experience a negligible increase in noise levels.

Air Quality

The majority of affected residential properties may experience improved local air quality as a result of the scheme proposals and because of the reduced traffic congestion. Air pollutant concentrations at properties near to the road would not exceed the levels that are set to protect human health.

Landscape

Substantial areas of trees, shrubs and grassland would be planted, with the intention of fitting into the existing pattern of hedgerows, woodlands and pasture fields. Native species that are local to the area would be used where possible. The new junctions and road bridges would initially be intrusive features of the scheme but over time the extensive planting would create effective screening.

Wildlife and Nature Conservation

The Tonbridge to Pembury section of the A21 comprises a variety of habitats including woodland, hedgerows, grassland, streams and ponds.

Protected species found during our surveys include bats, dormice, badgers, breeding birds, great crested newts and reptiles. Although areas of woodland would be lost to the scheme, a wide variety of mitigation measures have been included to limit or compensate these impacts. The project team has consulted with statutory bodies to ensure that with mitigation the long-term effects on most species would be neutral, and the character of the landscape preserved.

Water

The existing water environment would be protected by using drainage balancing and treatment ponds and facilities to contain pollutants. These measures would improve the quality of the water draining from the road system and ensure that there would be no increased risk of flooding in the area.

Historic Environment

The scheme runs through the High Weald an area inhabited by man for at least 6000 years. There is evidence of Iron Age, Roman and Medieval activity in the wider landscape. The High Weald landscape is formed of small fields and woodlands dating from Medieval and Saxon periods and the scheme has been designed to retain this historic form of the landscape.

So that the scheme has no effect on the Castle Hill Iron Age hillfort it would be necessary to demolish a Grade II listed farmhouse and barn.

Business Case

A21 Tonbridge to Pembury - Business Case
Business Case - Information correct as at December 2010

Legal

A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling - Full Statement of Case in respect of the applications for demolition of listed buildings
The Highways Agency's Full Statement of Case in respect of the applications for demolition of listed buildings issued under Rule 6 of the Town and Country Planning (Inquiries Procedure) (England) Rules 2000.
A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling - Full Statement of Case in respect of the draft Orders
The Highways Agency's Full Statement of Case in respect of the draft Orders under the Highways Act 1980 issued under Rule 6 of the Highways (Inquiries Procedure) Rules 1994 and Rule 7 of the Compulsory Purchase (Inquiries Procedure) Rules 2007.
A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling - Public Inquiry Notice
Public Inquiry Notice for the A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling scheme.
A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling - Pre Inquiry Meeting
A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling Pre Inquiry Meeting Notice - 1 March 2013
A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling - Outline Statement of Case February 2013
Outline Statement of Case in respect of Application for the Demolition of Listed Buildings - February 2013
A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling - Notice February 2013
A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling Department for Transport Highways Act 1980 - Notice February 2013
A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling - Compulsory Purchase Notice February 2013
A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling Compulsory Purchase of Land and Rights between Tonbridge and Pembury in Kent - Notice February 2013
A21 Tonbridge to Pembury - Outline Statement of Case
A21 Tonbridge to Pembury - Outline Statement of Case - January 2013

Newsletter

A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling - Newsletter 1
This document is available on The National Archive website:   

Report

A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling - Revised Environmental Statement
Revised Environmental Statement, Non-Technical Summary of the Environmental Statement and Statement Explaining the Proposals
A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Statement of Case - May 2010
Full Statement of Case, Statement of Case - Listed Buildings, Statement of Case - Listed Buildings Appendix A

These videos shows a computer-generated model of the A21 Scheme.

They illustrate how the scheme will look 15 years after opening, with trees between 5-7m in height and realistic traffic volumes.

The video sequence contains the following sections:

Vehicle movements at the new junctions (Fairthorne Junction and Longfield Road Junction)

Fly-through of the scheme in a southbound direction

Drive-through in both northbound and southbound directions

Please note that these videos are hosted on the Highways Agency's You Tube channel. If you are not able to access videos on You Tube you will be unable to view them.