Continuing from the previous consultation the Department for Transport (DfT) has launched another consultation process on the New Thames Crossing. With the tarmac from the widening of the M25 and the paint of the white lines from introduction of the new so-called “free-flow” toll hardly dry and the chaos caused by work on the A13 junction it cannot be believed that appropriate time and analysis of the affects they have had on traffic and congestion.
The DfT seems to be pushing very hard for the worse possible of all options, Option C, cutting across the end of Church Lane and very close to Norman Church and barn conversions with elevated sections running down the middle of all the green belt land all the way from Tilbury. The entire area will be blighted by this unnecessary and expensive tar and cement white elephant.
Read the details that DfT are prepared to make public here.
The latest from DfT seems to be that the minister has decided to wait to see what the effect of “free-flow tolling” is before any decision is taken on any additional Thames Crossing. Free-flow charging is due to begin in October 2014. Note that as a precursor to free-flow tolling additional gantries have been erected over the M25, with additional speed cameras and these have now been switched on. How long it will take to measure the effect of free-flow tolling is anyone’s guess but one can imagine it will be well into the next government, and it is additionally imaginable that there may be some tinkering with exactly how free-flow tolling is set up. There were rumours of a 20mph speed limit which sounds more like a choke-flow tolling….
Recently a resident of North Ockendon attended a meeting in Orsett about the New Thames Crossing. Unedited below is a copy of the meeting minutes and a letter from Councillor John Kent of Thurrock Council to the Secretary of State for Transport. Please note that this is a link so please “click” to open in a new tab.
Minutes of Meeting Thurrock County Council – Proposed Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) Held at Orsett Hall on 2 Apr 14 at 7.00pm Chairman: James Whale (BBC Essex Radio) Present: J. Kent (Council Leader) S. Metcalfe (Local MP) D. Bull (Planning & Transport) P. Anderson (Opposition Leader) A. Smith (Unknown) J. Kent (Speaker) Proposals for another LTC began some 7/8 years ago. Radio Essex and Radio Kent both opposed the proposals. Thurrock CC opposed all 3 options for the following reasons: Option A: It does nothing for the road network. Option B: Now discarded. Option C: The most expensive option and an ecological disaster. Not viable and totally unacceptable. Recommended “no” to options A,B & C at the consultation stage. S. Metcalfe (Speaker) Proposal for LTC will change the face of Thurrock drastically. Totally opposed to options A,B & C from the start. Further traffic will want to cross the River at some point in the future. Progress still needs to be made. Meeting with ministers and David Cameron revealed that no final decision has been reached yet. Also, there is no specific route, just a broad brushstroke. Decision will be made after the free tolls have been monitored. Government should re-investigate other routes to maximise return by linking airports. No guarantee given to be able to stop this proposal. If option C is chosen, the route can be amended. P. Anderson (Speaker) Everyone believes the proposal for LTC is wrong. Massive motorway on large unspoilt area of natural beauty would bring a corridor of noise and air pollution to Thurrock. The villages of Orsett, Bulphan and South Ockendon will be dissected. We need to change the details now before the Government decides. Page 1 Minutes of Meeting Thurrock County Council – Proposed Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) Held at Orsett Hall on 2 Apr 14 at 7.00pm Chairman: James Whale (BBC Essex Radio) Present: J. Kent (Council Leader) S. Metcalfe (Local MP) D. Bull (Planning & Transport) P. Anderson (Opposition Leader) A. Smith (Unknown) D. Bull (Speaker) Facts are that ministers are pressing for the technical work to be completed by summer 14. Consultants are looking at engineering works for 6 lane motorway or dual carriageway to assess local impact. PWC economists will assess costing of both options. Decision will be made in summer after consultations have been completed. If option C is chosen, different road routes may be open to consultation. Construction will be started in 2021. Options D & E already rejected and only option A or C will be selected.
The possible route may be tunnel or bridge, as costed. The route will run north from the River Thames through Tilbury, Chadwell St Mary, Orsett to A13 Junction, South Ockendon and join M25 at new junction between J29/30. Free flow tunnels by Oct 14 with 20mph limit and 6 months to remove booths. Both Essex CC and Kent CC have approved option C. Public Questions and Answers At this point meeting became quite volatile. One resident threatened to bulldoze the toll booths in one day. Another resident threatened to march thousands of people to 10 Downing St. Generally, the public were pessimistic of outcome. Councilors vowed to fight to stop any River Crossing in Thurrock. Both S. Metcalfe and D. Bull emphasised that no decision had been made yet. Suggestion for a petition to be lodged on Thurrock website. Meeting closed at 9.00pm
Letter from Councillor John Kent of Thurrock Council to the Secretary of State for Transport. J. Kent ltr 03Apr14