The new Lower Thames Crossing will bring better access to customers and transport hubs, according to small businesses.
The survey found almost half (49%) of small business owners think the new infrastructure project would give them better opportunities to reach new customers. More than a third (39%) say it would improve their access to transport hubs, and 28.7 per cent think new markets would be more accessible after the crossing is built.
Of those who took part in the survey, carried out by FSB in Kent, London and Essex, and Lower Thames Crossing, 63 per cent of SMEs said they found traffic congestion a major challenge to their business, and 62 per cent of those surveyed want the Government to focus on investment.
Businesses are keen to see the project started as soon as possible.
Deborah Turner, FSB Kent Area Leader said: “We have long urged ministers to get the project going to prevent gridlock on what are some of the UK’s busiest routes. While there have been differences of opinion over where a new Lower Thames Crossing should be located, we welcomed the fact that a choice has been made and money committed.”
Deborah continued: “As MPs are about to go into summer recess, we want to make it clear that this project is not dropped of the To Do list. It is more important now more than ever that the Government doesn’t get distracted from delivering on infrastructure projects, both large and small.
“Small businesses will be looking for the Government to stick to their promises and build the new Lower Thames Crossing so they can achieve their growth ambitions, whatever summer recess or the Brexit final outcome may be.”
Tim Jones, Project Director, Lower Thames Crossing said: “The Lower Thames Crossing will be a vital part of the UK's transport infrastructure. It will help businesses grow while connecting communities to jobs, education and leisure opportunities. The new crossing will mean more reliable journeys and fewer delays, opening up more opportunities in the south east – particularly for small businesses – to reach new markets across the UK and Europe.”
Small businesses need a dense, well-maintained road network to compete and grow. Retargeting infrastructure investment is the best way to improve productivity and connectivity, and make sure economic growth is strategically spread to every corner of the country.
Small businesses are overwhelmingly reliant on roads, with nine in 10 firms (89%) placing high value on the network. Rural businesses are especially likely to rely on roads as they often report little or no access to public transport links like rail or buses.
Notes to editors
The Lower Thames Crossing survey was conducted in June 2018 with FSB members across London, Essex and Kent. 156 responses were received.