Agenda and draft minutes

This meeting (and the meeting originally scheduled for 18 October 2021) was adjourned and will be rescheduled for 13 December 2021., Lower Thames Crossing Task Force - Monday, 15th November, 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 (and the meeting originally scheduled for 18 October 2021) was adjourned and will be rescheduled for 13 December 2021. 

Items
No. Item

35.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

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

36.

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.

37.

Declaration of Interests

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

38.

Transport Action Network: Question and Answer Session

Minutes:

The Transport Action Network (TAN) Representative introduced himself and stated that TAN were a national organisation that worked to support local communities who would be affected by national road schemes, and had been in operation for two years. He stated that in March 2020 the government budget had committed to Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2), but TAN had challenged this decision on climate grounds and carbon emissions. He explained that this had been heard in the High Court in June who had ruled in favour of the government, but TAN had applied to appeal this decision in the Court of Appeals, and would be hearing next week if this had been accepted. He explained in recent years, and particularly since COP26 in Glasgow, the UK had been more aware of climate change and the effect of road building on the climate. He stated that this year the UK had committed to a carbon emission cap as part of the Paris Agreement, and had agreed to reduce carbon emissions by 68% of 1990 levels by 2030. The TAN Representative explained that the sixth Carbon Budget had been agreed in June which outlined the acceptable levels of carbon emissions between 2033-37, and was much stricter than the previous fifth Carbon Budget. He stated that NH would compare the scheme’s emissions against the Carbon Budget, but TAN had raised issues with how the emissions levels were applied in this instance. He added that the budget for RIS2 had decreased from £27bn to £24bn due delays with the LTC, and therefore LTC funding could be pushed into RIS3 in 2025.

The TAN Representative explained that recently the government had made the Environment Bill into a law, which instituted new air quality limits. He added that in September 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) had also reduced their maximum emission guidelines for PM2.5 to 5mg per cubic metre. He explained that UK limits on PM2.5 were currently 25mg per cubic metre, which was five times the WHO limit. He stated that TAN and other organisations were lobbying the government to enshrine WHO limits on PM2.5 as the UK limit. He added that WHO had also recently updated the maximum emissions guidelines on nitrogen dioxide to 10mg per cubic metres, compared to the current UK limits of 40mg per cubic metres. He explained that WHO had updated these guidelines based on evidence and facts, but had admitted that there were no safe levels of these emissions. He clarified that WHO had not yet updated their guidance regarding other pollutants, but were working to develop maximum emissions guidance for these pollutants too. He stated that these guidelines would add weight to communities’ arguments regarding pollutants, particularly the fact that there were no safe levels of pollutants.

The TAN Representative added that the Business Department had updated their values for emissions in September, and these had been adopted by the Department for Transport, which provided the official guidance for National Highways (NH). He explained that these emissions values  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 27 KB

Minutes:

The Chair asked if a verbal update on the impact of the Freeport on the LTC could be provided in January’s meeting. This was agreed by officers and the Task Force.