The Leader stated that
Councillor Massey would be presenting the report in his role as
Chair of the LTC Task Force.
Councillor Massey introduced the report and stated that this presented an update on the work of the Task Force since November 2020, and highlighted that the Council remained principally opposed to the scheme. He explained that since the Development Consent Order (DCO) had been withdrawn and a new Highways England team had been appointed, communications had improved and the Council were receiving greater levels of detail regarding the proposed scheme. He stated that DCO had been withdrawn due to issues relating to consultations and although no new consultation had been officially announced, another one might take place before the next DCO submission.
Councillor Massey explained that at the December Task Force meeting, the Committee had focussed on the next steps post-DCO withdrawal, and had considered the 49 page Planning Inspectorate letter, which outlined why DCO had been withdrawn, for example the impact on local road networks, lack of air quality data and lack of information regarding working hours during construction. He stated that the Committee had also considered the economic mitigation list, and had received a verbal update on the A303 project, which could have an effect on other national road schemes such as the LTC.
Councillor Massey commented that the Executive Director of Highways England, Matt Palmer, had attended the January LTC Task Force meeting, as well as the Highways England Technical Leads, and they had discussed numerous items of mitigation, such as a bridge over the Tilbury loop line; 5G connectivity; improved Public Rights of Way; and the 2 Forts Way path. He added that the Highways England team had also given a detailed presentation on design aspects of the scheme, such as viaducts and felt that this presentation was the best visual that the Committee had seen in terms of detail. Councillor Massey added that the detail of the March meeting was not included in this report, due to publication timing, but the Task Force had spoken about mitigation, such as green spaces around Chadwell St Mary. Councillor Massey summarised and urged residents and local businesses to participate in any potential future consultations, and also make representations to the Planning Inspectorate, after DCO submission.
Councillor Coxshall thanked Councillor Massey for his report and questioned the published mitigation list, which included 57 items of mitigation. He asked whether or not the Task Force felt this was enough mitigation, or if they would like to see more. Councillor Massey replied that the Task Force always pushed for additional mitigation, but felt that due to DCO withdrawal, there was now more time to have detailed discussions. He stated that the Task Force would continue to work towards the agreement of the 57 mitigation areas, as well as any additional mitigation necessary. Councillor Coxshall stated that it was good to hear the Task Force’s thoughts. He questioned if the Task Force had considered the route tolls. He stated that at the Dartford Crossing a reduced toll for residents had been agreed, rather than £1.5million of funding directly to the Council, and questioned if this was something the Task Force wished for the LTC. Councillor Massey replied that the Task Force had only briefly considered the tolls for the scheme and monies this could bring to the Council, but this could be added to the Work Programme.
The Leader summarised and felt it would be good to hear the Task Force’s thoughts regarding tolls and funding. He also welcomed the news that Highways England were being more responsive and communicative, as this meant the Council could now have more open dialogue with Highways England.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
1. Noted the work of the Task Force.
Reason for decision: as outlined in report.
This decision is subject to call-in.
Councillor Massey left the meeting at 7.34