A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling

Project status:   Current

Start date:   Spring 2015
End date:  Spring 2017

Type:   Major Scheme
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Major Scheme

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

Cost:  £69.7m (most likely)


A new approach to delivering road works

This project is taking part in a trial to make road works simpler and clearer for people to drive through. Find out more.

Kent County Council Works commencing 18th June, Kings Standing Way, Longfield Road Improvement Scheme.

Starting from Thursday 18th June it will be necessary to implement 24 hour, 2-way temporary traffic lights on Kingstanding Way adjacent to Carpet Right in order to control traffic flows. This is to allow for necessary excavation and road works to be completed. The works involve constructing the permanent tie-in detail for the new northbound carriageway into the existing carriageway.

This essential work will take a few days to complete and will be anticipated to finish by Saturday 20th June.

Traffic will be restricted to a single lane and will be controlled by the use of temporary traffic lights throughout the entire period. In order to keep disruption to an absolute minimum the traffic lights will be manually controlled at all times between the hours of 0700 and 1900 allowing for live monitoring of the traffic flows.

Following this the junction will be reconfigured to allow traffic to use the new northbound carriageway while southbound traffic will still utilise the existing carriageway.

We realise the planned work in these sections may cause some minor inconvenience to the local businesses in the area and our aim will be to complete the works as soon as possible.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this planned schedule of activities and thank you for your continued patience in this regard.


A21 Tonbridge to Pembury General Scheme Update – Work Undertaken in May

Environmental & Ecology Works

Translocation, or movement, of the final sections of woodland was on-going in May and will shortly be fully completed. Bluebells have appeared in large areas of the newly moved woodland soils and many of the translocated coppice stools are sprouting new growth.

Heathland Creation Trial - The scheme results in a loss of 0.5 hectares of heathland and we are committed to create 2.4 hectares. In order to establish the most effective way to create this area on the specific ground identified during May we started some trials, with five ground treatments being tested. The results of the trials will inform the final design for the replacement heathland area.

Dormice Box Monitoring

We completed our first monitoring of the dormice boxes installed on site. Unfortunately at this time no dormice were found, but the surveys did uncover quite a few bird nests and one bee nest. Our next dormice box monitoring will be later during this summer.

Nesting birds

Our Ecological Clerk of Works undertook several nesting bird surveys around the site to make sure that construction activity did not disturb them. He found a number of nests, one of which belongs to a woodpecker who is nesting in a tree within retained woodland. The nest is a safe distance from our current work areas so will not be disturbed.

Archaeology & Cultural Heritage

The archaeological investigations for Mayday Farm barn and stable foundations are underway. The original foundations of these Listed Buildings are being carefully uncovered and recorded.

Construction Activities

Utility Diversions - In May we undertook the connection of our first new section of the Hadlow private water main in the area between Longfield Road and Pembury Walks.

Fencing - The erection of approximately 5km of temporary deer and rabbit fencing around the newly planted areas of woodland started in the month. We are doing this to prevent deer and rabbits from eating the new shoots which are sprouting from the root balls. If we did not take this precaution the trees may fail to re-establish themselves.

Property demolition – all the properties from within the scheme corridor have now been demolished.

Night Closures

Night time lane closures were used during the month to facilitate the remainder of the tree clearance works and allow some of the utility diversion preparatory works near to the live carriageway to be safely carried out.

At the end of the month we carried out a full carriageway closure which allow further sections of the metal safety barrier to be installed.

Activities Planned for June

Traffic Management – including A21 full closures

Night time lane closures – Traffic lights at night will continue to be used periodically throughout June. These closures will principally be linked with the laying of sections of the new Hadlow water main.

Full closures – There are two full night-time closures of the A21 needed in June to complete the installation of the metal safety barrier. Kent Count Council also have some resurfacing work taking place in Tonbridge during this period, so we are working with them to agree dates which do not conflict. We will update the journey impact page when the dates are confirmed.

Right Turn Ban - The right turn ban when entering or leaving Half Moon Lane and Pembury Walks has come into force.

Ecology, Translocation & Planting

Virtually all of the advance ecology, translocation & planting works for the project are now completed.

Being in a dormouse sensitive area the ecologists will continue to monitor the new dormice and bird nest boxes and as with the archaeology, we will provide a watching brief for all new areas of work to ensure we do not cause injury to any wildlife.

Towards the end of the month you may also notice what looks like a large windbreak being erected close to Pembury Walks which will form a temporary bat “hop-over”. There is a known bat foraging route across the A21 at this location, so until the scheme is completed and the new trees established a man-made connection is needed to allow them to successfully navigate to feed.

Archaeology & Cultural Heritage

Archaeological mitigation will continue during June. This will mainly be focused around the Castle Hill brickworks and Mayday Farm areas.

The watching brief, where archaeologists are in attendance when new ground is broken, will also continue throughout other areas of the scheme as we move into the main construction phase.

Other Construction Activity

Main construction – Work to create the new A21 between Pembury Walks and Longfield Road will start with excavation of the ground to the required depth, installation of the carriageway drainage and laying of the foundation layers for the new road. Some of these operations can be hampered by very wet weather, but we hope for a dry month (unlike the weather on the 2 June) to ensure good progress.

Utility diversions – Work to realign the gas main near to Vauxhall Lane are programmed to start during the month, with water main work also on-going. We will also start the installation of chambers and pipe work for the other utility diversions needed along the scheme.

Look out for the “Orange Work Zone”

The A21 scheme is one of a small number of projects in England that is being used to try to “Improve the Customer Experience through Roadworks.”

If you travel outside the area towards the end of June / early July you may see something slightly different on the A21, M1 and the M3 network. More information will follow about this next month.

What is happening?

We are proposing to upgrade the existing single carriageway A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury to dual 2-lane carriageways.

The new dual carriageway will broadly follow the line of the existing A21 with a new grade separated junctions at Fairthorne (by the petrol station) and at Longfield Road, replacing the existing roundabout at the southern end of the scheme. At the northern end, there will be a minor change to the line of the slip road from the Vauxhall Lane roundabout where it joins the A21.

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. A new footbridge will be provided across the Pembury Bypass at Blackhurst Lane, replacing the existing crossing.

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.

A draft Compulsory Purchase Order, Highways Act Orders and an Environmental Statement were published in December 2009 and a public inquiry was due to take place in July 2010. However, the public inquiry was postponed pending the outcome of the government’s October 2010 spending review. In the October 2010 spending review announcement the scheme was listed as one of those for which design and planning work would continue so that construction could start in the early years of the next spending review period (post 2015).

On 8 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.

A Public Inquiry for the scheme was held between 14 May and 9 July 2013 and the Secretary of State's decision confirming that the scheme will go ahead was announced on 1 May 2014.

The decision letter and the Inspector's report of the Public Inquiry are on the Department for Transport’s website at:



The contract to build the scheme was awarded to Balfour Beatty on 9 July 2014.

Some site clearance and advance environmental mitigation work started in September 2014 with the main construction work starting in spring 2015. Construction will take approximately 2 years.

Why is this happening and what will it cost?

The A21 links the Hastings/Bexhill and Tonbridge Wells/Tonbridge conurbations to the M25 and the trunk road network.

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 to single carriageway with poor horizontal and vertical alignment and many individual accesses to properties, farm fields and woodlands. Approximately half way along the scheme there is a petrol station on the east side and junctions with two minor roads, Dislingbury Road and Pembury Walks, either side of the petrol station. This causes traffic congestion and delays on the A21, particularly due to right turning traffic. There are no footways and verges are either very narrow or non-existent.

This single carriageway section of the A21 experiences severe congestion throughout the day and particularly at peak times and has a poor accident record with an average accident rate (expressed as accidents per million vehicle kilometres) about 20% higher than the default value for a road of this type.

Between Tonbridge and Pembury the A21 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 (AONB) and being an historic route, largely follows the landform. Further details of the environmental impacts of the scheme and proposed mitigation measures are on the environment page of this website.


The estimated cost of the scheme is in the range between £59.0m and £78.6m with a most likely cost of £69.7m.

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

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.

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.

Details of scheduled roadworks are provided to help you plan your journey. Please note that works are weather- and resource- dependent and may need to be cancelled at short notice. This information is not updated in real time so please check Traffic England for current traffic conditions. Diversion timings are approximate and act as a guide only.

Will there be roadworks?

For night time lane closures, traffic lights will continue to be used during week nights throughout June. During the forthcoming overnight closure the final sections of metal safety barrier will be installed, the new section of A21 near Pembury Walks will be tied-in or connected to the existing road with a section of new surfacing and white lining and some additional signage erected. 

A 40mph speed limit and metal safety barrier has been put in place throughout the works area to protect the road user and workforce.

Please note that this project is taking part in a trial to make road works simpler and clearer for peo­ple to drive through. Find out more.

Road Works

DateDurationDetailsAllow an Extra
Sunday 28 June 20158.00pm - 06.00amA21 between the A26 Quarry Hill and A264/A228 Pembury junctions30 minutes
Monday 29 June 20158.00pm - 06.00amA21 between the A26 Quarry Hill and A264/A228 Pembury junctions30 minutes
Tuesday 30 June 20158.00pm - 06.00amA21 between the A26 Quarry Hill and A264/A228 Pembury junctions30 Minutes

How will you manage traffic?

At the Vauxhall Lane / A26 section of the A21, traffic will be separated prior to the southbound off-slip into two dedicated lanes. Lane one will be used for traffic wishing to enter the A26 and the A2014. Lane two will be used for through traffic wishing to remain on the A21.


We have implemented a right turn ban for traffic entering or leaving Half Moon Lane, Pembury Walks or Fairthorne garage. This will improve the flow of traffic on the A21 and also reduce the potential of increased rat running through the local villages. This will be enforced by the Police, especially in the early change period. Private accesses onto the A21 remain unaffected by this ban.

Will there be diversions?

A number of nights of full closures will still be required. Closures will be in place from A26 Quarry hill junction Tonbridge through to the A228/A264 junction and will be effective from 20:00 hours to 06:00 hours the next morning. A fully signed diversion route will be in place. Currently, the dates remain to be confirmed, but we will share them with you when they are available.


During most of the construction work, unless there is an emergency situation, there will be no need for the road to be closed during the day. Occasional further night closures may be required and these we will update here when they are confirmed.


A21 Northbound Closure times & actual closure points

  • Longfield Road roundabout to A26 Quarry Hill Junction, 20:00 to 06:00 each night
  • A264/A228 junction with the A21 to Longfield Road, 22:00 to 06:00 each night.

Access to North Farm - this is not a formal diversion route, so will not be signed, but is a suggested alternative.

  • Access straight over the roundabout from Tonbridge Road to Longfield Road will be possible during these closures. Vehicles needing access to the business park areas after 22:00 hours should leave the A21 at the closure point (A264/A228 junction), turn left at the traffic lights onto Tonbridge Road, go past the hospital and then across the A21 roundabout onto Longfield Road.


A21 Southbound Closure times & actual closure points

  • A26 London Road / Quarry Hill junction to Longfield Road roundabout, 20:00 to 06:00 each night.

Access to North Farm

  • Via main diversion route below until just before the A228 joins the A21, then see suggested route above.


Formal Diversion

When heading northbound the route will be to leave the A21 at the A264 / A228 junction; take the A228 towards West Peckham; turn onto the A26 through Hadlow, following the diversion route along the Tonbridge by pass, back to the A26 then re-join the A21. The southbound route will be in reverse.

Diversion route map

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.

We have surveyed the local area to assess the effect the scheme will 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. The link to these documents can be found on the ‘publications’ tab.

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.


Ancient Woodland

The scheme entails the unavoidable loss of 9Ha of Ancient Woodland for which 18Ha of translocated and planted woodland will be provided in mitigation. These areas will be managed for 25 years. In addition, 27Ha of existing woodland will be managed for 10 years while the new planting becomes established.


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 will be used to screen the A21 from properties, with noise fences included where they will be effective.

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

A new route for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders will 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 will 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 will not exceed the levels that are set to protect human health.



Substantial areas of trees, shrubs and grassland will 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 will be used where possible. The new junctions and road bridges will initially be intrusive features of the scheme but over time the extensive planting will 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 will 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 will be neutral, and the character of the landscape preserved.



The existing water environment will be protected by using drainage balancing and treatment ponds and facilities to contain pollutants. These measures will improve the quality of the water draining from the road system and ensure that there will 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 will be necessary to demolish a Grade II listed farmhouse and barn. As a condition of the planning consent we will photograph and record the buildings before demolition and the barn will be carefully taken down and re-erected at a historic buildings museum. (The farmhouse itself is not unique and has been altered a lot during its lifetime, so does not warrant re-erection).



Translocation of Woodland

We have coppiced trees along the route so that they are ready for translocation (with woodland soils to retain the seed bank) into the nearby 'receptor areas'. Unfortunately we cannot move every tree as some will not survive, for example those with extensive infestation. In total, 9 hectares of woodland have been coppiced and translocation will begin in early 2015.

Our woodland translocation is one of a combination of woodland creation measures that we will use to create 18.1 hectares of woodland in areas bordering the new dual carriageway. Other woodland creation measures include new planting and natural regeneration, which we will start early 2015.

In addition to the trees we have also been preparing to translocate an earth bank rich in woodland fungi along with hedgerows in the northern end of the scheme.

Ecology Works

Coppicing involved protecting dormice, bats and other wildlife, which included undertaking works during autumn in order to avoid sensitive breeding and hibernating periods.

Dormice - We have installed 150 dormice boxes in areas of 'dormice' vegetation that will be retained, in order to provide resting places for dormice while the new woodland becomes mature. We will install a further 100 dormice boxes as the new woodland takes hold. We have also installed 25 of our 36 bat boxes, with the remaining being installed early 2015.

Reptiles & Amphibians - 165 reptiles and 1 amphibian were trapped under licence from Natural England within the works area where you may have notices low level plastic fencing. These creatures were moved to safe areas close to where they were captured.

Archaeology & Cultural Heritage

Prior to beginning any translocation or construction activities we have undertaken an archaeological watching brief to check for possible areas of interest. We record any significant features that we find and aim to preserve these where possible.

Business Case

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


A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling Public Exhibition Information
A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling Public Exhibition Information


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


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


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.