Agenda and draft minutes

Thurrock Council postpones public meetings as a mark of respect for Sir David Amess MP. This meeting will be rescheduled for 15 November 2021., Lower Thames Crossing Task Force - Monday, 18th October, 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Training Room, The Beehive Community Resource Centre, West Street, Grays, RM17 6XP

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

Note: This meeting was adjourned and will be rescheduled on 15 November 2021. 

Items
No. Item

27.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Sue Sammons, Adam Carter and John Kent. Apologies were also received from Laura Blake, Thames Crossing Action Group Representative, and Peter Ward, Business Representative.  

28.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 212 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force meeting held on 20 September 2021.

Minutes:

The minutes from the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force held on 20 September 2021 were approved as a true and correct record.

29.

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.

30.

Declaration of Interests

Minutes:

There were no interests declared.

31.

Employment and Skills Strategy pdf icon PDF 163 KB

Minutes:

The Senior Consultant introduced the report and stated that since it had been published, there were some minor amendments that needed to be made. He explained that the table on page four suggested there would be nine new support posts required within Thurrock, but this should have been six posts. He added that the cost outlined on page four was listed as £450,000 but the following wording should be included ‘the costs includes both salaries and compensation, as well as an events and training programme’.

The Senior Consultant explained that the Skills, Education and Employment (SEE) Strategy overlapped with elements of the Hatch report and National Highways (NH) had been advised of Thurrock’s comments on the SEE Strategy through discussions regarding the Hatch report. He stated that the SEE Strategy had first been developed by NH approximately fifteen months ago, and Thurrock had provided their comments on that version. He stated that an update on the SEE Strategy had then been received from NH in May, and comments on this update had been provided in August. He stated that the table in section three of the report outlined the main comments that Thurrock had made, and the team had felt that there were no ambitious job targets included, for example the scheme would include 22,000 new jobs, but only 437 apprenticeships and not all of these would be based in Thurrock. He clarified that NH were currently working with some Thurrock-based businesses that would be involved in the supply chain. He added that Thurrock Council had also asked NH for additional resources within the Council to ensure work could be completed, but so far NH had only agreed to five additional posts, with only one of these being based in the northern area which included Thurrock.

The Senior Consultant stated that Thurrock had been developing a proposal for a grant scheme for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which would help NH meet its target of £1 in every £3 spent on SMEs, but this had not been agreed or explained by NH yet. He added that the team had also asked for more ambitious jobs targets, legal targets, and an increased Community Grant sum. He stated that the NH had only just now accepted in principal using Section 106 agreements, but Thurrock Council were pushing for the SEE Strategy to be a control document. He summarised and stated that NH had not agreed to the SEE Strategy becoming a control document as they only wanted the measures to be included in the S106 Agreement. The Global Director for Urban Solutions at Hatch added that the SEE Strategy in its current form was not specific to Thurrock and did not show any local employment benefits. He stated that the team would be pushing for more ambitious and legal targets as Thurrock were the main local authority that the scheme would pass through.

The Chair questioned when the SEE Strategy would be agreed upon, whether it would be before or after  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Health Impact Assessment: Verbal Update

Minutes:

The Senior Consultant introduced the report and stated that there had currently been no progress on the HIA. He stated that an independent audit had been commissioned with other local authorities affected by the scheme, and NH had agreed to incorporate between 60-70% of the ideas from the audit, but so far Thurrock had not received any proof that this was taking place or a timeline for delivery. The Interim Assistant Director Regeneration and Place Delivery added that Thurrock had been meeting regularly with NH through CIPHAG meetings, but were waiting on greater clarity to be provided on the health impacts of the scheme. He added that the LTC website had recently been updated which stated that air quality across the region would be improved by the scheme, but so far no data had been provided to prove this claim. He stated that NH would be going out to consultation next year due to significant scheme changes and amendments, as this was a planning requirement, but felt that NH would struggle with this consultation if air quality information was not provided before the consultation begun.

33.

Development Consent Order (DCO) Submission: Verbal Update

Minutes:

The Senior Consultant introduced the report and stated that NH were planning to submit their DCO next year, but still had to go out to consultation first. He stated that the reason for consultation was due to approximately 50% of the Tilbury Fields area being released to the new Thames Freeport. He stated that NH were planning for the consultation to begin in February, but the team were doubtful the consultation could start before Spring 2022, as NH also needed to consult on changes to the A13 junction and needed to provide comments on the 3-4,000 responses to the previous consultation, including significant key stakeholder comments. The Interim Assistant Director Regeneration and Place Delivery replied that NH were under pressure from the Department for Transport to submit their DCO and so the consultation would probably be streamlined. He stated that NH were currently in the middle of lots of major work, including the configuration of the Orsett Cock junction, so he could not see how the consultation would be ready by February. He added that Thurrock were still also waiting on air quality, health and noise impact data, so he felt that DCO would not be submitted until the Summer or Autumn of 2022. He stated that this also depended on the government’s carbon emissions approach and decarbonisation strategy, and how this could impact upon the scheme.

The Chair asked if Thurrock Council would have a chance to influence the consultation before it went live. The Senior Consultant answered that NH had always asked Thurrock Council for their thoughts on the LTC consultation approach before it went live in previous years, and hoped that they would continue to do so before this upcoming consultation. He stated that the Task Force had previously also made comments regarding consultations, so hopefully NH now knew what would be expected of them, for example in-person consultation events needed to be held in Corringham/Stanford-le-Hope.

The Resident Representative asked if there was any update on the East facing access on the A13 at Lakeside, or the bridge over the Tilbury loop line in East Tilbury. The Interim Assistant Director Regeneration and Place Delivery replied that NH were currently determining how to best deliver the East facing slips using the best approach. He added that Thurrock Council were also consulting with NH on the potential provision of a permanent bridge over the Tilbury loop, but there was still some way to go on this issue and any NH contributions that would be made. He stated once NH had clarified its offer any decision would then need to be taken through the appropriate democratic processes and Heads of Terms would need to be agreed. Councillor Muldowney queried how much the current delays were costing NH, and if there was an approximate figure. The Senior Consultant replied that many people were employed by NH on the LTC scheme, so the current delay of one year may be costing several million. Councillor Muldowney questioned the effect on the LTC  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.

34.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 27 KB

Minutes:

The Chair asked if a report on the Orsett Cock junction could be presented to the Task Force. This was agreed by officers and the Task Force.