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Apologies for Absence
Councillor John Allen sent his apologies. Peter Ward, Thurrock Business Representative sent his apologies, and John Speakman acted as his substitute.
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force meeting held on 15 October 2018.
The minutes of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force meeting held on 15 October 2018 were approved as a 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.
There were no items of urgent
Declaration of Interests
There were no interests declared.
Highways England Update on Consultation
The Highways England (HE)
Development Director began by stating the consultation process was
almost halfway through, with 4 events and 1 mobile event already
held across the borough. He described how there were 3 more events
in Thurrock those being: 14 November at the Linford Methodist
Church; 16 November at the Brandon Groves Community Centre; and 7
December at Chadwell St Mary Village Hall. He also stated there
were 8 more mobile events happening throughout November and
December, the details of which were on the LTC website. The HE
Development Director went on to discuss how responses to the
consultation had been high, with over 500 responses per day. He
then listed the main themes of consultation responses so far, which
· Concern with the location of the proposed route, although residents recognised the need to relieve traffic at the Dartford Crossing and A13.
· Concern with the A13 junction and the lack of West facing slip roads.
· Discussion of the height of the route and how this could have visual impacts and impact on air quality.
· The lack of the Tilbury link road and how this may affect businesses within the area.
· How the LTC will help businesses within Thurrock.
· The change to 3 lanes and how this may increase traffic noise and air pollution.
· The removal of spoil and construction traffic on the local road network as building work will be happening on site for 6 years. The HE Development Director explained that in the New Year detailed traffic assessments would be taking place which would look at this issue.
· Local issues such as the realignment of Rectory Road. The HE Development Director asked residents to include local issues in their consultation responses.
· The proposed rest/service area and the impact this could have on residents. The HE Development Director discussed this issue and stated that the rest area would help stop the problem of HGVs parking on local roads, and would include charging points to promote good air quality in the borough.
The Assistant Director Lower
Thames Crossing began by discussing how Cllr Kelly had requested
the Task Force Priorities List to be a standing item on the agenda,
to make sure the questions remained at the forefront of the Task
Force’s mind. She described how the format had changed since
the last agenda, as it was now presented in a table, with responses
to questions added. She added how Highways England had responded to
the majority of questions asked, although a couple had not been
answered as the Task Force Priorities List had been sent to them
late last week. She stated that items 1d, 5a, 6b, 6d and 7h were
original questions, but 8 and 9 had been added which had emerged
from consultation events. She asked if members had identified any
new questions and were happy with the format.
Verbal Update: Response to Consultation
The Representative from Peter
Brett Associates (PBA) stated that they had considered the Task
Force Priorities List and the Mitigation Schedule, and the response
to Highways England would consider the following
· National Policy Statement and testing whether Highways England’s design achieved what was laid out in the policy framework.
· Design principles and mitigation in terms of transport, heritage and future-proofing.
· Specific designs such as the Tilbury link road, the rest area and Orsett Cock roundabout junction.
· Specific issues including environment and health impacts, such as air quality, flood risks and risks to public health.
· Making Highways England aware of the impact on Council operations.
· The Development Consent Order, adequacy of consultation, and discharge of requirements.
Next steps such as traffic modelling and
Vice-Chair felt that as projects such as HS2 were spending
£2billion on cut and cover tunnels in London, the LTC should
consider it in urban areas in Thurrock, some of which were less
than 500 yards from the route. He felt that Highways England should
be taken to judicial review and the high court to challenge them.
The Representative from PBA replied that once the results were back
from the HIA, Highways England could then be pressured to provide
Verbal Update: Business Views
The Thurrock Business Board
Representative began by stating at the most recent meeting of the
Thurrock Business Board they had discussed ‘what was in it
for Thurrock’ in regards to the LTC. He discussed how they
felt Highways England lacked vision around the A13 and Tilbury
link, as well as the proposed rest area. He mentioned the Local
Plan, and how the scheme could impact future housing, regeneration,
and movement of goods around the borough. He felt that that the
additional cost of the Tilbury link road would be offset by the
connectivity it could bring to businesses. The HE Development
Director replied that he would be happy to meet with the Thurrock
Business Board to discuss, as Highways England were already meeting
regularly with Tilbury Port. The Thurrock Business Board
Representative stated that he would welcome meetings between the
two, and in this time of economic uncertainty, as Thurrock was
fundamental to the UK economy, improvement to the A13 and a Tilbury
link road should be considered further. He went on to state the
Thurrock Business Board felt the LTC was simply a ‘big
bypass’ that wouldn’t benefit the area, particularly
without the Tilbury link road. The HE Development Director replied
that the LTC would improve journey times by 30%, which would
provide extra capacity for businesses. He went on to describe how
there was not enough traffic for a south bound Tilbury link, with
only 18-20 lorries per hour in peak times. He added there may be
future possibility to expand as Tilbury port and surrounding
Next Steps for Consultation: Timeline and Decision Making
The Corporate Director Place
described how the council had asked for additional time to respond
to the consultation, to be able to discuss the response at Full
Council in January, but this had been denied by Highways England.
He confirmed that the council now had until the 20 December to
respond and make a strong case. He added that the draft council
response would now go to Full Council on 28 November, and then to
the Task Force on 10 December to reflect on Full Council’s
comments and add their own. He mentioned the mitigation schedule
would be on the December Task Force meeting to consider this again.
The Chair stated that there would not be much time between
considering Full Council and the Task Force comments and submitting
the council’s response. The Assistant Director Lower Thames
Crossing clarified they had 5 weeks and 3 days to consider
thousands of pages of documents. She added this was because
Highways England delayed the start of consultation; and therefore
it does not fit in with the council’s governance
The Chair suggested that the Task Force invite members of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) and Essex County Council to a Task Force meeting, as they were pro-LTC and it would be an opportunity to test where they were coming from.