THURROCK Council has unanimously agreed to fight against any proposal for another Thames crossing in the borough.
A motion from Council leader, Cllr John Kent, stated: “Thurrock Council welcomes the Government’s intention to move to free flow tolling for the Purfleet to Dartford Crossing as this will significantly reduce congestion”, but wished it would be brought in sooner, adding: “If there’s anything we can to do to move forward more quickly, I’d welcome it.”
“To further cut congestion Thurrock Council calls on government to bring forward improvements to the A13 / M25 junction and remains opposed to any new crossing in Thurrock.”
He pointed out that the M25-A13 junction, in particular Junction 30, is not only a regular cause of congestion locally, but also “one of the worst in the country.”
Describing it as “a severe restraint on growth” he said the council had been campaigning for improvements for eight years and now it looked like the government is saying it will not have the money needed until 2018 at the earliest and that the council should “join together to convince ministers” of the need to act sooner.
He added “government should use the Autumn Statement next week to set out plans to make urgent improvements to the junction.”
The government is also expected to launch a consultation on a possible “third crossing” offering the “three familiar options” in late May next year.
He said the Local Enterprise Partnership agreed that free-flow tolling and Junction 30 improvements should be complete before any new crossing is discussed, and had ruled out a crossing alongside the present ones.
But Cllr Kent said: “Their preferred option is to the east of Tilbury but as far as we are concerned it’s no new crossing anywhere in Thurrock,”
He said another crossing at Purfleet would have horrendous environmental and congestion problems in the west of the borough, but moving it eastwards would have equal environmental problems, and air quality issues and not only cause more congestion where it crosses the Thames, but between the crossings too.
Cllr Kent said the campaign to stop a crossing and get Junction 30 improved needed more than a unanimous vote at the council, it needs all the people of Thurrock behind it too and that the council would be seeking that support in the months to come.
The motion was seconded by the opposition portfolio lead Cllr Garry Hague, who said any new crossing would have a “catastrophic” impact on the environment and Green Belt and called for “all possible measures” to prevent it.