Agenda and minutes

Lower Thames Crossing Task Force - Monday, 21st September, 2020 6.00 pm

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

Contact: Lucy Tricker, Democratic Services Officer  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


The Chair stated that Councillor Allen had sent his apologies, but due to a bad traffic accident on Dock Approach Road other Councillors and co-opted members may also be delayed or not in attendance.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 231 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force meeting held on 20 July 2020.


The minutes from Lower Thames Crossing Taskforce held on 20 July 2020 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.


There were no items of urgent business.


Declaration of Interests


There were no declarations of interest.


Highways England Attendance


Mr Protheroe, the Highways England (HE) Representative began his presentation and thanked the Task Force for inviting HE to the meeting, as he felt it was a good opportunity to hear feedback and concerns. He began by outlining the Development Consent Order (DCO) process and confirmed that HE were intent on submitting the DCO by the end of October. He added that the team were currently reviewing results from the design refinement consultation, which they would need to complete first before they could submit DCO. He explained that once the DCO was submitted the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) had 28 days to review and consider if the submission met the required government standard. He explained that if the submission did meet that standard then the next stage would be the pre-examination and examination phases, during which key stakeholders would be able to challenge HE on the scheme and HE would have to explain how the scheme was developed. He stated that HE, at this phase, would set out the necessary impact assessments, including for both construction and route operation. He added that after the examination phase, PINS would make its recommendation regarding the route to the Minister, for him to make the final decision. He mentioned that legal challenges could then be submitted after the Minister’s decision announcement.

Mr Protheroe moved on to outline the key factors included in the design refinement consultation, which included a reduction in the size of the development boundary, minor highway design changes, alignment changes and bridge changes. He added that the consultation also included more detailed information regarding how the design of the route would impact non-motorised users, including horse riders. He stated that utility diversions had also been changed in the design refinement consultation, as the utilities companies had worked to provide more finalised studies of their sites. He commented that the consultation also included more developed landscape proposals, as well as some ecological mitigation. Mr Protheroe described how the COVID pandemic had impacted the consultation as no in-person events could be held, and the majority of the deposit locations had closed, so the team had followed a ‘digital first’ approach which did include some telephone and postal consultation. He stated that HE had worked hard to continue their consultation whilst following government guidelines, and the digital first approach had worked as the number of website hits had increased.

Mr Protheroe then explained how the development boundary had changed at design refinement consultation as 45% less houses were affected, a drop from 270 to 150 properties, and 12.5% less land was needed which equated to 26.2km 2. He added that the number of overhead lines needing to be moved had also decreased, and noise barriers were being designed to mitigate some of the noise from the road, and highlighted that these were being developed, including their height and location, by HE contractors, although they had to meet HE standards. He stated that some of the barriers would be made from wood, but others  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Task Force Priorities List pdf icon PDF 596 KB


The Assistant Director LTC stated that the priorities list would be soon superseded by the mitigation list, which would be presented to the Task Force at the next meeting.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 24 KB


The Assistant Director LTC stated that officers would not have a lot of time in November to attend the meeting as the DCO was due to be submitted in late October, and officers would be focussed on reviewing the 60,000 pages of the submission. She asked the Chair if a discussion could be had at October’s meeting regarding the cancellation of November’s Task Force, to which the Chair agreed.