Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL. View directions
Contact: Lucy Tricker, Democratic Services Officer
Apologies for Absence
There were no apologies for absence.
Minutes PDF 230 KB
To approve as a correct record the minutes of
the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force meeting held on 14 December
The minutes of the Lower Thames
Crossing (LTC) Task Force meeting held on 14 December 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
There were no items of the
Declaration of Interests
There were no declarations of
Highways England Attendance - Matt Palmer Introduction and Design Presentation
The Assistant Director LTC
introduced the new Highways England (HE) Executive Director, Matt
Palmer, and stated that the Development Consent Order (DCO)
submission had been withdrawn and, HE had implemented a new staff
structure and Matt Palmer reported directly to the Director of HE.
She added that the LTC team now had a separate division within
HE. She mentioned that Thurrock’s
Ecology and Biodiversity Officer had also joined the meeting, as he
had worked closely with HE on some of
the issues that would be highlighted in the presentation.
The HE Executive Director added that he had started the job five
and a half months ago, and his aim had been to reorganise and
refocus the LTC project. He stated that he had previously worked on
the Heathrow third runway project, as well as other large national
infrastructure projects, and felt that everybody’s voices
should be included in these decisions, such as local authorities,
residents and businesses. He felt that the project would be better
if all stakeholders worked together, and highlighted that the new
HE team would be listening and engaging with stakeholders on a more
regular basis. The HE Executive Director explained that he was not
a highways engineer, so felt that this project was not simply a
road, and wanted to work with Thurrock on local benefits for the
Council and community.
The Chair stated that the Task Force could now ask questions of the
HE Executive Director, before the presentation began. Councillor
Spillman began questions and stated that he appreciated the new
approach by HE, as previously he had
felt that they had not focussed on potential benefits that the
proposed route could bring. He added that HE had previously not
worked hard enough to sell potential benefits to the Task Force or
general public, and felt that potential mitigation measures should
be discussed openly to ensure the best mitigation was implemented.
The HE Executive Director responded and thanked Councillor Spillman
for his comments. He stated that he had first-hand experience of
living by a newly opened road and understood the impact and
benefits it could have for local residents. He stated that
previously HE had focussed too heavily on the route, rather than
the community. He stated that although the Task Force could not
change the route alignment, they could work together to ensure all
parties understood the benefits and disadvantages.
Councillor Allen questioned if it was still possible to influence
HE regarding issues such as cut and
cover near population centres. He felt that HE and the Council
should discuss potential mitigation in more depth, such as road
surfaces, cut and cover, and tree planting to ensure the route was
right by design. The HE Executive Director replied that although
there would be some flexibility, due to the stage of the project
the route alignment would fundamentally not change on large issues
such as cut and cover. He stated that the Hatch report outlined 57
potential mitigation measures, of which 50% were ...
view the full minutes text for item 37.
A303 Legal Challenge Update
Chair and Task Force agreed to suspend standing orders, due to the
lateness of the meeting and items still left to cover.
The Assistant Director LTC stated that she had no update since
December regarding the A303 legal challenge, but would continue to
update the Task Force when new information emerged. The TCAG
Representative questioned if an update would be provided regarding
the work of the Transport Action Network. The Assistant Director
LTC responded that she had spoken with the Head of Democratic
Services, who had determined that the work of the Transport Action
Network did not fall under the remit of the Task Force. She stated
that it did warrant separate discussion, which she would liaise
with the Chair about offline.
Economic Mitigation List PDF 1 MB
The Assistant Director LTC
stated that the Council were due to publish the non-technical
summary in two weeks’ time. She highlighted that the next
steps would be to find out which of the 57 items of mitigation HE
were prepared to include, as she had not yet received a formal
written response. She stated that once this list had been sent
through, the team would analyse these and would be added to the
Councillor Muldowney asked if L15 could be updated to include
Orsett Fens and other green spaces which had previously been
mentioned. The Stantec Senior
Consultant responded that L15 had been updated, but the updated
document had not been included in the agenda. He explained that
once the technical summary had been published, the updated report
could be circulated.
The Chair asked what work had been undertaken regarding
biodiversity mitigation. The Assistant Director LTC replied that as
the DCO process was iterative, the final layer of biodiversity
mitigation would not be seen until after the DCO had been submitted
and just before the construction phase was due to start. She
explained that as the DCO was not a planning application, HE only
needed to submit a limited level of detail. The Ecology and
Biodiversity Officer replied that he was working with HE architects
on the landscape and ecology to ensure a mix of mitigation,
including legacy benefits.
Work Programme PDF 129 KB
The Assistant Director LTC
highlighted that the Health Impact Assessment would be included
under the DCO review for March’s meeting.