IT is “pleasing to see the government’s listening to us” says Thurrock Council Leader, Cllr John Kent following the latest announcement about the new Thames crossing.
Speaking on Tuesday (15 July), Cllr Kent said: “In some ways it’s pleasing to note the government is now taking the advice we’ve been giving since at least 2011 – analyse the effect of free-flow tolling before taking any decision of whether or not a new crossing is needed.
“On the other hand, because our common sense proposals were ignored initially, it has left Thurrock in limbo not knowing what the government is really thinking – a clearer steer on that thinking would have been very useful.”
He added: “This means we’ll have to maintain our campaign against both the current proposals – Option A and Option C – and we’ll keep up the pressure on government to look at alternative routes away from Thurrock and I would again urge everyone who is concerned about this to sign our online petition.”
He added: “We are putting together our detailed evidence for the Transport Select Committee investigation into strategic river crossings, but I have to emphasise, our reaction is not a NIMBY one.
“Thurrock already has three crossings and has been home to the only Thames crossing east of Tower Bridge for half a century.
“We’ve done our bit and no doubt the traffic will continue to cross over the bridge or through the tunnels whatever happens.
“We have also asked that options further to the east are explored again, and now the pressure is building for more crossings in east London; the so-called Thames Gateway Bridge and others.
“The effect of these London crossings also need to be taken into consideration before condemning Thurrock to more traffic, more congestion and more pollution – let alone the possible destruction of the Green Belt and so much history via Option C.”
He said: “The government obviously cannot make up its mind, yet everybody in Thurrock knows the best decision for us and for the country as a whole is to say: No new crossing, let’s just sort out the A13, the M25 and the junctions between them as soon as possible.
“That’s what’s needed. No more prevarication, just realisation that another crossing here isn’t the answer.
“Just get the traffic flowing freely from east to west and north to south and allow it to merge easily from the A13 to the motorway and from the M25 to the A13 to the ports, Lakeside and Purfleet.
“We don’t need or want extra lanes crossing the Thames; we and the nation as a whole do need roads that keep moving.”