THE three political party leaders at Thurrock Council have again written to the Secretary of State for Transport – this time asking for him to bring the Lower Thames Crossing consultation to a halt.
Labour and Council Leader, Cllr John Kent, Conservative Leader, Cllr Rob Gledhill, and Cllr Graham Snell, leader of the UKIP group, joined with Planning, Transport, and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny chair, Cllr Brian Little, in signing the letter.
They had previously asked for the Highways England consultation to be extended, but following the announcement by Transport Minister Andrew James last month that Option A – close to the current Dartford Crossing – was still being considered, they have called for the whole thing to be stopped.
The letter to Patrick McLoughlin says: “Earlier this month the Transport Minister Andrew Jones confirmed that Option A remained a viable option and was under consideration. This was confirmed by Highways England at the consultation event at Tilbury on 25th February.
“As you will know the many thousands of leaflets and the on-line consultation portal contain no information relating to Option A. It was dismissed as uneconomic and described as offering no solution to congestion problems at the Dartford crossing. It was also considered to do little for the economy. Similar comments to these were made again by Highways England at the Tilbury consultation event.”
It explains: “As no information or evidence about Option A is contained in the consultation material it is impossible for the public and businesses to offer comments or take a view. If Option A is part of the consultation then it should have been made clearer and have supporting information that is comparable to Option C.”
The letter adds a concern because Options C and A “perform completely different functions” and asks what is the function of the new crossing – “Is it to build an expensive by-pass to the crossing and junction 30? or is it to provide a new strategic route for freight traffic travelling from the Channel ports to the Midlands and the North”?
And it states: “Given the ease with which Option A has been reintroduced part way through the process, why not Option D?”
But because “with only three weeks of the consultation period remaining it is just not practical for one or two Options to be reintroduced with the same level of information as Option C, and for it to be considered a fair consultation process” the consultation should be stopped.