New Thames Crossing: MP Stephen Metcalfe criticises consultation process

STEPHEN Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock has today called in to question the Consultation process for a new Lower Thames Crossing.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Despite being opposed in principle to more crossings in Thurrock, it is still important that we engage in the consultation process and that it is a meaningful, professionally organised exercise. Yet only a week into the consultation, I am becoming increasingly concerned with the process and have raised these issues with the Roads Minister.”

“I am not convinced that enough people are aware of the proposals, not everyone reads the local paper or looks online. I am therefore asking that Highways England write to everyone personally in the wards affected by the various routes. I realise that is a sizeable expense, but when we are talking about spending billions, I do not think this is an excessive request.”

Stephen continued: “I am also concerned that the public engagement events all finish by 7pm, except the Saturday event at Lakeside Shopping Centre. 7pm is not late enough if you are returning from work in London. I therefore want some events in East Thurrock to run to 9pm to give everyone a fair chance of seeing the plans and discussing them with a Highways England representative.”

“We saw at today’s event at Orsett Hall that there is huge local interest in this massively important issue which was disappointingly underestimated by Highways England. This issue is too important to be bungled and I want assurances that Highways England are taking residents concerns seriously.”

Stephen finished: “In light of these early errors and lack of full awareness I remain unconvinced that eight weeks is long enough to access such a complex proposal and that in light of my concerns I have requested that an additional four weeks is added to allow everyone to be fully aware of the plans and fully participate in getting their voices heard.”

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