Kent A21 widening scheme public inquiry announced

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A public inquiry to examine plans to widen the A21 in Kent could be held in May 2013, it has been announced.

The scheme to expand the road between Tonbridge and Pembury from single lanes to a dual carriageway was given preliminary approval earlier this year.

According to the government it will make journeys on the A21 safer and more reliable and bring economic benefits estimated at more than £400m.

The Kent Green Party said the project was "a complete waste of money".

The road widening scheme is estimated to cost between £100m and £151m.

Transport Minister Stephen Hammond said: "We will shortly be restarting the statutory process for the A21 Tonbridge to Pembury dualling scheme with the intention of the public inquiry taking place in May 2013.

"Formal Notice of the intention to hold a public inquiry will be issued in November and details of the venue, exact date and sitting times for the inquiry will follow in due course."

Steve Dawe, from the Kent Green Party, said: "We will continue our objections on the grounds that the proposals remove nine hectares of ancient woodland. Doing this rather than looking at traffic reduction measures is a complete waste of money.

"It won't actually deal with the problem. As with other schemes once the road or bypass is built the traffic builds up again."

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