Agenda and minutes

Lower Thames Crossing Task Force - Monday, 25th September, 2017 5.15 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL. View directions

Contact: Lottie Raper, Democratic Services Officer  Email: direct.democracy@thurrock.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Chair

Minutes:

The Corporate Director of Environment and Place welcomed everyone and introduced the meeting outlining the role of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force.  The Democratic Services Officer outlined the process for the nomination and election of Chair and Vice-Chair.

 

Councillor Kelly nominated Councillor B. Little as Chair; this was seconded by Councillor Piccolo.  Councillor Allen nominated Councillor Smith; this was seconded by Councillor Jones.

 

Members were given the opportunity to vote.  As there was an equality of votes, the matter was determined by the drawing of lots, in line with the Constitution.  Councillor Smith was the successful nominee and the Committee were satisfied with the result.

 

2.

Appointment of Vice-Chair

Minutes:

The Chair asked for nominations for the Vice-Chair position.

 

Councillor Liddiard nominated Councillor B. Rice, which was seconded by Councillor Jones.

 

Councillor Piccolo nominated Councillor B. Little, which was seconded by Councillor Kelly.

 

The Committee voted in favour of Councillor B. Rice.

 

3.

Items of Urgent Business

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

 

4.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

5.

Highways England Presentation pdf icon PDF 653 KB

Minutes:

Representatives from Highways England  gave a presentation to the Committee which outlined key details of the design and process, including key dates to note in terms of decision deadlines moving forward.

 

The Thames Crossing Action Group representative asked what the expected capacity would be if three lanes were to be used, given that the expected capacity for two lanes was approximately 70,000.  The Committee was advised that the increase was not linear as it would be a matter of how well the lanes were occupied.  The expected figure was around 85,000-90,000.

 

Councillor Jones asked for clarification around the proposed height of the roads in the elevated sections.  The route would be lowered where possible but it would need to be elevated in part to avoid landfill, flood risk areas and other roads.  The section from East to West by North Ockendon would be 6m or 7m above ground level.  Councillor Jones noted that it would be visible for miles due to its height.

 

The Chief Executive interjected that it was crucial that Highways England clearly outlined what aspects might be influenced by the Council and businesses and what would be beyond their control.  Everyone involved was entitled to understand exactly what could be influenced before engaging with the public.  The Highways England representative agreed that their intention was to make it obvious what could and could not be changed.  At the time of the consultation the year before, the process was still in very early stages but now, with a more developed understanding of traffic movements, environmental issues and other factors it was possible to give a clearer picture around what aspects of the proposal could be influenced and altered.

 

The Chair noted that the data modelling for local traffic had been undertaken several years previously.  Given the extensive works carried out along the A13, he queried whether it would be necessary to revisit this.  The Task Force heard that this was definitely correct.  Highways England had a requirement to update their information regarding local traffic surveys and local plans.  The forecast on both strategic and local road networks would be updated, with the last full year of data being 2016.

 

Councillor B. Little asked if it would be possible for Thurrock to have access to information regarding its own areas.  The information would be made available where possible, some could not yet be released as it was still undergoing Highways England’s internal assurance policies.

 

Councillor Jones enquired whether this would include data regarding air pollution.  Highways England were beginning their surveys around air quality presently and the data collected would form the baseline for all future information.  It was their intention to share this information too. Councillor Jones wished to clarify the public consultations process as it had been somewhat vague in the last instance.  The public consultation would include a period of engagement with local forums, information would be published online and in libraries and there would be public meetings to ensure residents could be heard.

 

Councillor Piccolo  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Minutes:

It was noted that whilst the Terms of Reference were important, they were not completely defining of the Task Force. 

 

Councillor B. Little raised the question of nominating substitutes and Councillor Piccolo agreed that he wished to discuss in more detail. The Vice-Chair also highlighted the possibility of inviting other parties to offer their input.

 

The Task Force agreed to discuss this item fully at the next meeting. 

 

7.

Governance and Decision Making

Minutes:

The Task Force agreed to discuss this item at the next meeting.  Councillor Liddiard also proposed submission of written questions.

 

8.

Any Other Business

Minutes:

There were no other items of business.

 

9.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 37 KB

Minutes:

Officers noted that a number of items had been raised for the next meeting’s agenda.  It was agreed that a full work programme would be formulated then.