Saturday, February 24, 2024

Kent tells Boris Johnson: “Talk to the people of Thurrock”

LONDON mayor Boris Johnson has been told he shouldn’t make plans for Thurrock without asking local people.

The demand by council leader, John Kent comes as the Mayor of London plans to visit DP World in Stanford-le-Hope next week.

And Thurrock Council Leader, Cllr John Kent, says he is concerned the mayor has acted “in cahoots” with the Department of Transport over approving the Option C Lower Thames Crossing motorway scheme.

Mr Johnson’s team published proposals for a massive new international airport in the Thames estuary on the Kent coast, either at the Isle of Grain, or further even east.

Cllr Kent said: “When I heard that the mayor’s Boris Island plans were being dropped in favour of two new proposals in north Kent I was concerned.

“Boris Island had been ridiculed out of existence, but a close look at the latest hair-brained scheme made my blood boil.

“Not only will the usual issues of noise and air pollution come up as thousands of aircraft fly just a few thousand feet above our homes, but BoJo is now suggesting that a new airport rail link and even Crossrail should travel from the capital to the airport through Grays and the rest of our borough.

“Then, when you look very carefully at their maps, it seems he and the government have agreed the M25 motorway should take a turn to the east at the M20, cutting through northern Kent to cross the Thames close to Tilbury and then plough its way through our borough to rejoin the M25 somewhere near Junction 29 or 28.

“This is exactly as the Option C variant we were being consulted on just a week earlier proposed. Is that consultation a sham?”

Cllr Kent said: “I have written to the Mayor of London making these exact points – I await his reply with interest. He has upset and insulted various parts of the country before – and apologised too. Let’s see what he says now?”

In his letter to the Mayor, cllr Kent says:

“I feel compelled to write to you following your latest proposed options for airport capacity, announced on Monday.

I have to confess to having previously accusing government of a lack of joined up thinking regarding the Lower Thames Crossing – but obviously I am wrong, you and the Department for Transport have been in cahoots all along.

Both of your estuary options this week include the new Lower Tames Crossing Option C. The ink is barely dry on the DfT consultation for the crossing and you have published a document that declares the government’s planned location for the new crossing is a done deal and obviously sham consultation!

This is nothing less than a co-ordinated attack on Thurrock, its residents and its businesses.

I make no apology for representing and defending the interests of everyone in Thurrock. Some have accused me of not thinking about the long term and the broader national interest, however, as borough which hosts the largest and most prolific growth programme in the UK, we need investment in infrastructure now, not 10 to 20 years from now.

What I find particularly galling about your suggestion is that in addition to the Option C motorway, both your options suggest new rail railway links ploughing through Thurrock too.

I know you are mayor of the “great metropolis”, but don’t you think it might have been polite to have at least discussed your thoughts with your neighbour Thurrock, rather than think that everybody will simply fall in line and accept your wisdom?

I have responded to the DfT consultation, on behalf of Thurrock residents, opposing the options for a new crossing and will fight these airport proposals, in the same way.

“Combined, your plans and those of the DfT will blight Thurrock for generations to come.”


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