Friday, December 8, 2023

Lower Thames Crossing pollution won’t be monitored when complete

By Local Democracy Reporter

Christine Sexton

HIGHWAYS England will not monitor noise and pollution on the planned Lower Thames Crossing once it is completed, it has been revealed.

Tim Wright, head of consents for Highways England, answered a stream of questions posed by Thurrock councillors on the Lower Thames Crossing Taskforce on Monday and heard concerns on the impact of the project which could cost up to £8.2 billion.

Fraser Massey, Independent councillor for East Tilbury, asked Mr Wright if air and noise pollution monitoring equipment would remain after construction of the two 2.5mile tunnels under the Thames which will connect Kent and Thurrock and provide an alternative route for Dartford Crossing and Blackwall Tunnel.

Mr Wright said: “The monitoring will be in place during the construction period. We are talking about putting some in early to get a baseline to understand what conditions are like now and then they will be in place through the construction period.

“There is not currently a proposal to monitor either air quality or noise following opening the road.”

A public consultation on the scheme is underway and ends on September 8.

Sara Muldowney, Labour councillor for Chadwell St Mary, said information on air and noise pollution was not complete and could have a big impact on residents.

She said: “I’ve got quite a big concern about how easy it is for residents to be able to engage in this consultation.

For example, as I understand it the council has yet to receive the noise impact assessment and the air quality impact assessment and we are not going to be getting those until after the consultation is over.

“It’s very technical a lot of this stuff and you do have to bounce around one telephone directory of information to another.”

Ms Muldowney added: “I understand it’s very complex information but if the council doesn’t have the information about air quality and noise impacts in order to be able to advise residents what the likely impact is going to be how can this be and adequate consultation on those matters which are very, very much at the forefront of our residents’ minds, particularly in my area, Chadwell which has got high levels of diseases like COPD and coronary diseases outside of London.

“We’ve already got a problem with respiratory illnesses and heart diseases which are likely to be made worse.”
Mr Wright said information had been provided in initial assessments and more would be made available. He said:

“We have provided in the consultation material detailed assessments of the air quality impact and noise impacts associated with both construction and operation of the scheme.
“We are running final assessments that will go into our development consent order submission.”

Mr Wright said the project would bring benefits to Thurrock during construction.

He said: “We’re talking about supporting 20,000 construction jobs that would be new jobs. They would be related to the construction of the scheme and many of these local people will be best placed to take advantage of.”

Asked how many of the jobs would be in Thurrock, Mr Wright said there was no regional breakdown but he added: “There will be jobs along the length of the route that will be accessible to people in Thurrock.”


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