MEMBERS of Thurrock Council’s Lower Thames Crossing Task Force have heard that councillors and residents have no influence on the route and height of the road.
At this week’s task force meeting (Monday 22 January), Highways England presented the areas of influence for the proposed Lower Thames Crossing, including construction, community, operations and environmental factors.
However, while Highways England made it clear that they would listen to local residents, the horizontal and vertical alignments of the road are ‘project-led decisions’.
Speaking after the meeting, Chair of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force, Cllr Peter Smith, said: “I appreciate Highways England explaining to us quite candidly that we cannot influence these areas.”
Members of the task force also agreed what its priorities going forward are and that the February meeting will be focused around the visual impact, followed by health and air quality at the meeting in March.
Cllr Smith added: “With our agreed priorities and themed meetings, we can get into the detail of their plans, how they will affect residents and challenge Highways England with precision. Next month we are going to focus specifically on the visual impact. We will be challenging Highways England on things we know are important to residents which we know are primarily around whether the route will be underground, at road level or above.”
“The Planning inspectorate also requires that alternatives to the proposed crossing be set out – I’m looking forward to hearing this explained when and if Highways England choose to share it.”
More information about future meetings of the task force and the priorities can be found at thurrock.gov.uk/thames-crossing