Agenda and draft minutes

Lower Thames Crossing Task Force - Monday, 12th July, 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, RM17 6SL

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

Items
No. Item

9.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Laura Blake, Thames Crossing Action Group Representative; from Peter Ward, Business Representative; and from Westley Mercer, Thurrock Business Board Representative.

10.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 350 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force meeting held on 14 June 2021.

Minutes:

The minutes from the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force meeting held on 14 June 2021 were approved as a true and correct record.

11.

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.

12.

Declaration of Interests

Minutes:

There were no interests declared.

13.

Highways England Attendance pdf icon PDF 21 MB

Minutes:

The Highways England (HE) Executive Director introduced the presentation and then the Head of Consents began the presentation by explaining the timeline of the Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) project so far. He stated that the first public consultation had begun in 2016, before the preferred route announcement in April 2017. He added that a statutory consultation had been completed in December 2018; a supplementary consultation had been completed in April 2020; and the design refinement consultation had been completed in August 2020. He explained that the next steps in the project would be the community impact consultation, which would begin this month, before Development Consent Order (DCO) re-submission in winter 2021, followed by the DCO decision in 2023.

The HE Head of Consents outlined the community impacts consultation which would run from 14 July 2021 until 8 September 2021, and would provide more detail on construction and construction mitigation. He added that the consultation would also set out more information about proposed environmental mitigation for the permanent works, and hoped it would demonstrate the changes made to proposed utilities works. He explained that because of the ongoing pandemic, all consultation materials would be made available online, and in-person events would be carefully managed. He commented that the consultation would also consist of online webinars, a telephone surgery, and outdoor events.

The HE Head of Consents then moved on and explained that the consultation would include a guide; an update on construction principles and methods; an operations update; ward impact summaries; a ‘you said, we did’ summary; detailed maps; and control plan documents. He stated that the ward impact summaries would be localised to each individual area and would help communities understand what would be happening in their ward, both during the construction phase and permanently. He mentioned that some wards had been combined as the impacts in these areas were similar, but more information would be shared with Thurrock Council as the process developed. He stated that the ward impact summaries would include a variety of projects in each area, such as construction compounds, roadworks, and traffic assessments. He added that the ward impact summaries would also include the impact on public transport, footpaths, cycle routes, visual impacts, noise, air quality, health, biodiversity, heritage, and contamination management.
The HE Head of Consents then outlined updates to construction works, which included updated descriptions of the main construction activities, as well as detailed compound locations. He stated that the consultation would also include more detailed information relating to construction traffic and haul roads, working hours and working accommodation, and would set out the phasing and duration of construction activities. He added that mitigation, such as controls over works, would be required to submitted as part of the DCO, and visualisations would be available during the consultation that would show the extent of the works. He added that the operations update in the consultation would include a description of the new road and tunnel; the utilities works; and improvements for walkers, cyclists and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

HEQIA QA Review: Update Paper pdf icon PDF 212 KB

Minutes:

The Senior Consultant introduced the report and stated that officers had been reviewing the DCOv1 (version one) submission, and had been discussing this with the HE team for some time, including the impact of the proposed route and potential mitigation measures. He explained that the paper presented to the Task Force considered the methodology of the Health and Equalities Impact Assessment (HEqIA)v1. He added that the paper had been developed by Stantec, but all nine local authorities impacted by the scheme, either directly or indirectly, had been involved in agreeing the independent review. He stated that the paper sought to decide if the methodology of the HEqIA was adequate compared to best practice standards, which in this case was the Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit (WHIASU) guidance. The Senior Consultant then mentioned that this paper provided a short summary of the findings of this exercise and had been paid for via the Planning Performance Agreement. He highlighted section 4 of the report and stated that Stantec had developed a number of recommendations for HE to consider and respond too, but these recommendations centred around the methodology of the HEqIA, rather than impacts or direct mitigation measures. He stated that the team had summarised their findings and had outlined in the report that they did not have much confidence in the adequacy of the methodology used by HE. He described how the team hoped HE would use officer’s findings to improve version two of the HEqIA. He summarised and stated that HE were still developing the second version of the HEqIA and this would not be ready for some months yet, and would be completed in stages after discussion with the CIPHAG group (with Public Health England in attendance).

The Strategic Lead for Public Health added that the review covered different aspects of the HEqIA, and used a variety of methods to decide if the document methodology was adequate. She explained that these sources ranged from a review against the WHIASU guidance; a review against the Equalities Act; and a review of the HEqIA against Authorities’ Health and Wellbeing Strategies and Equality Objectives where they have them. She stated that these reviews had been conducted on version one of the HEqIA, and helped officers to form an opinion of the HEqIA and made recommendations on how it could be improved for version two. She stated that when these recommendations are addressed this should assist in giving a  clearer idea of the health and equalities impacts, and therefore what mitigation and legacy benefits need to be in place. The Strategic Lead for Public Health added that the report presented 19 high level recommendations to HE, and there are many more recommendations were included in the full 100 page report. She stated that HE had currently agreed to 11 of those 19 recommendations; partially agreed to 2 recommendations; and had noted and were involved in further discussion for 6 of the remaining recommendations. She summarised and stated that the next step would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 26 KB

Minutes:

The Chair confirmed that the Transport Action Network would be invited to the August meeting of the Task Force. He thanked officers and Members for their attendance, and urged residents to take part in the consultation.