Agenda and minutes

Lower Thames Crossing Task Force - Monday, 20th March, 2023 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, RM17 6SL

Contact: Lucy Tricker, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email:


No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force meeting held on 14 November 2022.

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The minutes of the meeting held on 14 November 2022 were approved as a true and correct record.


Items of Urgent Business

To receive additional items that the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.

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There were no items of urgent business.


Declaration of Interests

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There were no interests declared.


Thames Crossing Action Group Presentation pdf icon PDF 3 MB

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The Thames Crossing Action Group (TCAG) Representative introduced her presentation which can be found at the following weblink: .

The TCAG Representative explained that the group had been founded by residents to represent those opposed to the scheme, including residents in Kent and across the country. She explained that in 2017 TCAG had been refused a question at Full Council, and there had been much media and press attention surrounding this. She stated that the LTC Task Force had then been set up to improve communications between officers, Members, and residents. She explained why TCAG were fighting the scheme, such as problems on the Dartford Crossing that would not be improved by a new crossing, problems during construction phase, and increased pollution. She explained that issues with the design of the LTC, such as a single lane on the A2 slip road and the ‘Stanford detour’, as well as a lack of traffic migration data during design phase, could also increase problems for users of the road and residents. She added that a new crossing could also increase cross-river traffic by 50%, and would have a negative impact on nearby homes, farms, greenbelt land and the solar farm.

The TCAG Representative moved on and stated that in 2016 the cost of the scheme had been approximately £4bn, but this is now officially estimated to be up to £9bn+ (with many believing it would end up being £10bn+++) and meant that the Benefit Cost Ratio had fallen from 3.1 to 1.22. She explained that the recently announced two-year delay would continue to increase costs and therefore reduce the Benefit Cost Ratio. She added that additional works that would be needed as a direct result of the LTC (if it goes ahead) and/or projects originally proposed by National Highways to be included in the project, such as the Tilbury Link Road, Blue Bell Hill, and A2 dualling were no longer being considered as part of the project, but instead progressed as stand-alone projects, which many consider to be a false economy. The TCAG Representative explained that the Accounting Officer Assessment had been published in January 2023, but this document was using cost data from August 2020, which was now outdated. She added that this document contained references to an independent assessment review which had been carried out, and TCAG had entered a Freedom of Information Request to see this document. She stated that the request had been refused by Cabinet. She stated that TCAG had therefore instructed solicitors and were currently waiting on a response.


The TCAG Representative moved on to share evidence that if the LTC did go ahead, carbon output would increase both during the construction and operation phase. She explained that a legal challenge had recently been put to the government’s Net Zero policy, and the government had a deadline of 31 March 2023 to respond to this challenge. She added that other legal challenges were also ongoing. She then commented on aspects considered greenwashing and propaganda. The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


Verbal Update: Council's Position - Examination

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The Director of Place updated the LTC Task Force and stated that he had started at Thurrock Council in July 2022, and had become Director of Place in October 2022, and therefore the LTC response fell under his remit. He stated that he begun his work by seeking clarity on the LTC, the cost to the council, and how the government intervention in September 2022, and subsequent S114 notice in December 2022, would affect the project. He explained that at no point had funding been withdrawn, but the Council had to understand the full cost of the project and confirm there was sufficient money in the budget under the S114 notice to progress a compliant response. He stated that some of the design team had paused some of their work in the meantime.

The Director of Place explained that the Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) technically stopped at DCO submission, so no formal funding structure had been in place and the current Council funding was not sufficient. He explained that therefore the team had sought a better deal from National Highways and had got this in writing, so work on the response was now progressing. He explained that as Thurrock Council was a host authority, it was automatically registered as an interested party, but the Council had confirmed with the Planning Inspectorate that they would be making representation at the examination phase. He stated that the team had asked the Planning Inspectorate to consider extending the pre-examination phase by three months to ensure all information is correctly considered, and the Council were currently waiting on a response to this request. The Director of Place explained that there had also been a change to project management staffing, as the planning and transport teams within the Council were now more engaged with the process, although consultancy experts remained involved. He thanked the consultants for their hard work throughout the process.

Councillor Ononaji questioned how much the project had cost the Council to date. The Director of Place explained that it was hard to find an exact figure due to the nature of the project, but estimated that consultancy cost and officer time had cost approximately £1.4-1.5m, although 40% of this had been covered by the PPA. He stated that more was now covered by the PPA, and this meant that cost would approximately be between £400,000 and £500,000. The TCAG Representative questioned if legal representation was covered by the PPA, and if the LTC administration team were still working and reviewing the DCO documents. The Director of Place explained that legal representation costs had been included in the Council’s budget, but were not covered by the PPA from National Highways. He added that administration had previously been supplied through an external team, with no oversight from council officers, but now additional Council administration officers would be used to support the external team, and would be tasked with processes such as checking invoices. He added that consultants engaged through Stantec still remained working with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 70 KB

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Members did not have any items to add to the Work Programme.

The Chair thanked Members, officers, and co-opted members for their hard work on the Task Force throughout the 2022/23 municipal year.