Agenda and minutes

Lower Thames Crossing Task Force - Monday, 18th January, 2021 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


There were no apologies for absence.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 230 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force meeting held on 14 December 2020.


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 1972.


There were no items of the urgent business.


Declaration of Interests


There were no declarations of interest.


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England (HE) Executive Director, Matt Palmer, and stated that the Development Consent Order (DCO) submission had been withdrawn and, HE had implemented a new staff structure and Matt Palmer reported directly to the Director of HE.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


The 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 icon 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 Work Programme.

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 icon PDF 129 KB


The Assistant Director LTC highlighted that the Health Impact Assessment would be included under the DCO review for March’s meeting.