The Motion, as printed in the agenda was proposed by Councillor Massey and seconded by Councillor Allen. The Motion read as follows:
Members may be aware that National Highways have recently submitted, and had approved, their Development Consent Order for the Lower Thames Crossing scheme, to move forward to the next stage in the Planning Inspectorate process. The LTC Task Force seeks assurances that the Council is committed to opposing the scheme as currently presented and promote this message through Council communications channels.
Councillor Massey presented the motion by stated there needed to be confidence in the Council’s capacity to make a good case for the protection of Thurrock residents and businesses against the disruption and destruction of the Lower Thames Crossing. Those working on the Lower Thames Crossing at the Council had produced some really good work which had been presented to the task force and hoped that this important work would continue for the benefit of the borough. The proposed Lower Thames Crossing would consume much green belt, impact the local plan, will impact residents’ health and would be a permanent physical barrier going right through the heart of the borough and communities. The cost of both carbon and money are both high and agreed with both Members of Parliament of Thurrock this was now an out-of-date project and no longer delivered the benefits intended. Councillor Massey urged all residents, businesses, and other groups to register as interested party with the planning inspectorate which would allow representation later in the process. He asked Members to reaffirm their opposition to the Lower Thames Crossing, as currently opposed, by supporting the motion to ensure the Council had the resources required to communication and promote the opposition during the planning process.
Councillor Allen stated his support to Councillor Massey’s motion.
An amendment to this motion had been received from Councillor J Kent and seconded by Councillor Byrne and read as follows:
Members may be aware that National Highways have recently submitted, and had approved, their Development Consent Order for the Lower Thames Crossing scheme, to move forward to the next stage in the Planning Inspectorate process. The LTC Task Force seeks assurances that the Council is committed to opposing the scheme as currently presented and promote this message through Council communications channels. Council also calls on cabinet to identify sufficient resources to ensure effective opposition to the proposals.
Councillor J Kent presented the amended motion by stating it was clear that all Members agreed the Lower Thames Crossing, as currently configured, would be an ecological and environmental disaster for Thurrock and would not achieve the aims of the crossing but drive a motorway through the heart of the borough and would create a toxic triangle. Over the last 10 years there had been active opposition to the scheme which had been backed by Council funding to ensure public engagement events could take place, hire experts to advise to ensure the Council made the best case. This funding was no longer available and without those funds turned the Council’s active opposition to passive opposition. The amendment was to ask cabinet to identify sufficient resources so that the proposal could be properly opposed.
Councillor Byrne stated that documentation prepared for this project was immense and funding was required to help Thurrock fight this.
Councillor Mayes stated his support to Councillor Massey’s motion and thanked him for the great job he had undertaken in his chairmanship of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force with the battle to continue to fight against the Lower Thames Crossing coming through the borough.
Councillor Maney stated his support to Councillor Massey’s motion in that it was evident all in the chamber this evening were opposed to the Lower Thames Crossing and the impact that it would bring to the borough. Councillor Maney stated the question was how we resourced the response, there were many avenues that could be explored but should go to the National Highway and insist they fund the response through the planning performance agreement. Councillor Maney thanked Councillor Massey for the work undertaken by the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force and the Council would be determined to resource the response as best as they could but needed to go to the people who were inflicting this on Thurrock.
Councillor Redsell stated her support to Councillor Massey’s motion and that all 49 Members should work together to fight this, there had been too many consultations, with the LTC blighting too many lives in Thurrock. She recognised and thanked Councillor Massey for the work undertaken by the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force.
Councillor Muldowney stated her support to Councillor J Kent motion, as a member of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force it was recognised that proper resources needed to be available to fight this or it would be a disaster for Thurrock. That Highways England when attending the task force provided or shared very little information.
Councillor M Coxshall stated his support for Councillor Massey’s motion and reiterated the work he had undertaken as chair on the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force with the project undertaking a lot of work and had been resourced very highly over the last couple years. Councillor M Coxshall stated that money should not now be wasted and to ensure it got through the planning process this should be taken through the 114 processes, this was the process to prove its value, and not through cabinet. The motion had highlighted the impact this would have on the residents and businesses in Thurrock and should continue to oppose this whole-heartly.
Councillor Polley thanked Councillor Massey for his motion and the work that had been undertaken on the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force, this was the finest example of Members working together. The Lower Thames Crossing was not right for Thurrock and Thurrock did not want it; the Council should continue their commitment to fight this project in its current format. Councillor Polley also made thanks to the Lower Thames Crossing Action Group and volunteers which had demonstrated a community working together with a common goal.
Councillor Worrall stated the project would be worth nothing if the resources were not provided and could not understand why all Members were not supporting the amendment as we owed this to Thurrock residents, residents who would not support Members if this project had not been properly resourced.
Councillor Byrne reiterated that funding was important to fund this project and that money was required now to ensure the proper comms work could be undertaken.
Councillor Allen commended Councillor Massey for his chairmanship on the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force, stated the Lower Thames Crossing would be an environmental and ecological disaster and put a stake through the heart of Thurrock.
Councillor J Kent summed up by stating his amendment had called on cabinet to identify sufficient resources to ensure effective opposition to the proposals and did not say that money should come from the Council’s purse; with Councillor Maney stating there were many other avenues that could have been explored. Referred to Councillor M Coxshall comment that it would be up to the commissioners to make that decision, not cabinet. Councillor J Kent agreed there was agreement amongst all Members they all wanted to identify resources.
Councillor Massey summed up by thanking Members for their support and thanked colleagues on the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force. It was important to remember the challenges that will be created by the Lower Thames Crossing and would be vital to know where this was in the planning process. A clear message should be sent to National Highways and the Secretary of State for Transport that Thurrock remained opposed and urged those decision makers to hear the views of Thurrock.
The Mayor called a vote on the amended Motion.
With 14 votes for, 27 votes against and 1 vote abstain, the amended motion was lost.
A further vote was undertaken for the substantive motion to which all 42 Members voting for, the Mayor announced the Motion carried.