STEPHEN Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock has today met with John Hayes, the new Roads Minister to discuss the ongoing consultation around an additional Lower Thames Crossing and to share his and his constituents’ concerns about the two options currently under consideration, namely Options A & C.
During the meeting, the Minister confirmed that no decision was going to be taken until detailed analysis had been conducted on the two options, which is expected to lead to further public consultation towards the end of 2015 or early 2016.
The Minister also confirmed that neither of the two options was more likely to be adopted than the other and finally, that the illustrative route alignments shown in the last consultation were only indicative of some potential solutions, when in practise many permutations will be considered.
Stephen, who continues to oppose both location options, said after the meeting: “It was a constructive meeting for which I am very grateful to the Minister. John listened carefully to the arguments and agreed to look closely at the points I raised, particularly to ensure that the route chosen helps deliver the economic potential of South Essex and benefits local people.”
Stephen told the Minister the current options were designed to address a question posed a decade ago to relieve congestion at the existing crossing. What neither option does is to maximise the huge growth potential that exists in South Essex or Kent.
Stephen added: “I explained to the Minister that the current options would simply put more traffic on the A13 and the M25 and made a case for looking again at Option D which would start the creation of a new outer ring, potentially joining the Airports of Gatwick, Southend, Stansted and Luton.”
Jackie Doyle Price commented: “It is clear again from events this week that there is not enough resilience in the road network. A new crossing that adds traffic to the M25 and the A13 will simply make the problem worse. options a and c will not cut it. We need option D”
The Minister said in response: “ I am grateful to my honourable Friend, Stephen Metcalfe, for raising with me his visionary views, reflecting the concerns of his constituents, and demonstrating his willingness to work with the Department for Transport to ensure that the Government makes the right decision regarding this crucial part of the country’s strategic road network. The work underway is expected to lead to public consultation on a proposed solution in late 2015 or early 2016, and will allow us to choose the best option for local people and the region’s economy.“