Agenda and minutes

Lower Thames Crossing Task Force
Monday, 11th February, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL. View directions

Contact: Lucy Tricker, Democratic Services Officer  Email: direct.democracy@thurrock.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

51.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Councillors Tom Kelly, Terry Piccolo, Jane Pothecary and Luke Spillman sent their apologies.

52.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force meeting held on 14 January 2019.

Minutes:

The minutes of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force meeting held on 14 January 2019 were approved as a correct record.

53.

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.

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

54.

Declaration of Interests

Minutes:

There were no interests declared.

55.

Highways England Update

Minutes:

The Highways England (HE) Development Director began by stating that HE had visited the LTC Task Force at the end of 2018, and since then the consultation had ended and HE were currently individually analysing 28,000 responses. He stated that, of the responses that had been analysed so far, the main issues were the A13 connectivity; the proposed Rest and Service Area; the lack of the Tilbury Link Road; the vertical alignment of the road, particularly on the Mardyke Valley and Tilbury and Ockendon loop lines; the health impact of the road; and the air and noise pollution. He commented that once responses had been analysed, proposed changes to the plan would come back to the Task Force and the weekly meetings with Thurrock. The HE Development Director added that HE’s ambition was to submit the Development Consent Order (DCO) at the end of 2019, although this would be reliant on changes made to the LTC due to consultation responses. He mentioned that HE were aware that Thurrock was working on its Local Plan and felt that HE and Thurrock Council could collaborate on land parcels. He added that HE were planning on undertaking environmental surveys later on in the year, but assured the Task Force that they would stay fully informed. He finally stated that although the LTC was not near the procurement phase yet, last week HE had published their EU Hiring Notice which stated their intentions subject to contracts and got the supply chain ready. He added that HE wanted to work with the local supply chain and were in talks with SELEP, Invest Essex, as well as other partners.

The Thames Crossing Action Group (TCAG) Representative opened the debate and asked about the agricultural surveys HE were planning on undertaking, and asked what protection would be given to residents as some of the proposed survey areas ran over historic land fill sites. The HE Development Director replied that the agricultural surveys would consist of shallow soil testing, the same as what was currently happening in Kent. He added that HE had not yet applied for consent from Thurrock Council, so the surveys would not begin for some time. The Assistant Director LTC confirmed that Thurrock Council had not granted any licences for agricultural surveys on council land, but could not comment on licences for private land.

The Vice-Chair commented on the on-going Health Impact Assessment (HIA) as Thurrock had an increased level of COPD compared to other boroughs. He asked HE if they could provide cut and cover across the route, particularly around urban areas such as Chadwell St Mary, Tilbury, Bulphan and Stifford Clays. He wanted to ensure that progress was not detrimental to resident’s health. The HE Development Director stated that the scheme had to meet the National Policy Statement National Framework which would give protection to residents by testing air quality and noise pollution. The Assistant Director LTC confirmed that Thurrock had shared all health data with HE and the Strategic Lead Public  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.

56.

Task Force Priorities List pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Minutes:

The Assistant Director LTC stated this was a standing item which had been requested by Councillor Tom Kelly to keep sight of the Task Force priorities. She stated this document was a pre-cursor to the Mitigation Schedule. She then drew the Task Force’s attention to areas of the Priorities List which had been populated by HE in sections 1a (ii), 1a (iv), 1d, 2b (ii) and 7e. She ran through the changes which included:

1a (ii): HE had clarified that during the construction phase 900 construction workers would be needed at peak construction times in Thurrock. HE had stated jobs would grow as journey times would decrease, which would increase labour markets and help businesses.

1a (iv): HE had stated that a crossing at Canvey Island had been discounted in 2009 as it did not meet scheme objectives and HE could not justify it.

1d: HE had clarified they would be using local contractors as the PIN notice had been published last week, which could be shared with the Task Force and Thurrock Business Board.

2b (ii): Thurrock Council had now agreed a Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) with HE that could recover costs in terms of officer resources, and this had been backdated to September 2018.

7e: A group had been set-up regarding the HIA which had met in November 2018 and January 2019, and would continue to meet quarterly to discuss the Health Impact Assessment, as the Assistant Director LTC believed that work was not progressing quickly enough.

Councillor Allen asked for clarification regarding 1a (ii) as although 900 workers were needed for the construction phase, HE had put out to EU tender, and asked if local construction workers could receive these jobs. The Assistant Director LTC clarified that due to the scale of the project, and procurement rules, it had to go to EU tender. She stated that the tenders would be tiered, so both larger and smaller contractors could receive business. She added that through the DCO process, Thurrock Council wanted to ensure a certain amount of local goods and contractors were used on the project.

The Chair stated that at 1a (ii) part of the initial scheme had included a Tilbury Link Road to connect the docks. He stated that he remained opposed to the LTC, but had felt the Tilbury Link Road may have bought benefit. The HE Development Director replied that when HE had spoken to Thurrock businesses, the majority of feedback contained frustration at the Dartford Crossing. He stated that there was not the infrastructure to cope with a Tilbury Link Road, and if it was included in the scheme it could impact upon local roads. He added that HE were working with the Department for Transport and other partners to work on a different concept to connect the Port of Tilbury, either during or after the LTC had been built. The Assistant Director LTC replied that Thurrock needed access to the cordoned model to be able to analyse  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

57.

Mitigation Schedule pdf icon PDF 193 KB

Minutes:

The representative from Peter Brett Associates (PBA) introduced the report and stated this was the latest version of the mitigation schedule, having been updated on 5 February 2019. He stated that the mitigation schedule drove the agenda for technical meetings and covered key areas such as the Local Plan; operation and construction; community and health impacts; traffic and transport; environmental impact including air quality, landscape, water, ecology and stakeholders. He added that the technical meetings were grouped around issues such as the local plan workshop; the design elements of the scheme; the operation of the LTC; the construction and logistics; and community impact. He then listed the upcoming meetings and topics which would be covered, these included:

1. Thurrock Council and PBA had been invited to take part in the HE Design Panel which critiqued the design of the scheme.

2. The cordoned model and key elements for traffic.

He drew the Members attention to the areas of the mitigation schedule which were highlighted in red, as these signified areas which were now being dealt with elsewhere, as they were outside the scope of the LTC. He listed point 5, 30, 31, and 35 which were all highlighted red and were now being dealt with in another way. The Vice-Chair highlighted point 20 which commented on the crossing at East Tilbury as he felt many Local Plan developments could not take place in this area due to the LTC and its remedial works. The PBA Representative replied that this had been covered during the Local Plan workshop and HE had said they would take ideas discussed regarding design away, to ensure potential development sites were not neutralised. The Vice-Chair replied that houses could not be built next to motorways unless the motorway was buried underground in tunnels. The PBA Representative commented that HE had to ensure there would be no adverse effects for residents as part of their design work.

The Resident Representative asked how land to the side of the LTC would be treated, as to mitigate the scheme the roadside should offer some protection to residents from pollution. The Assistant Director LTC replied that HE only had to mitigate against their scheme, and a 1km tree belt on the side of the road was not necessary in law. She added that HE could only compulsorily buy land where it was necessary to deliver the scheme, and the 1km tree belt could not be compulsorily bought. She stated that this was why point 5 in the report had been highlighted in red. She mentioned that Thurrock Council were working with HE to identify mitigation work, but the red-line boundary was not fixed as additional environmental work needed to be undertaken.

58.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Minutes:

The Chair stated that as purdah started soon there may be some disruption to the meetings. The Assistant Director LTC stated that she had been expecting the March meeting to be a traffic modelling workshop, but there was now not enough time. She proposed the traffic modelling workshop take place in the April Task Force meeting, and invited HE to go into design detail, including architectural approach, during the March meeting. The HE Development Director replied that he would look into this. The Assistant Director LTC stated that Thurrock Council had met with other local authorities, and requested HE organise the upcoming meetings for the Stakeholder Advisory Panel. She stated that she had contacted the Planning Inspectorate and case workers to raise issues and concerns, and had requested the outreach planning inspectorate to discuss issues.