Thurrock Council urged to rethink plan to ditch Lower Thames Crossing taskforce

A campaign group has called on Thurrock Council to reconsider a plan to disband the Lower Thames Crossing Taskforce.

The task force, which includes expert consultant Chris Stratford, has worked hard to keep the council and the public informed on the hugely complex Lower Thames Crossing plans.

The Government is yet to decide if it will go ahead, but if it does, the £10billion scheme will cut a swathe through Thurrock green belt and is being opposed by the council.

Thurrock Council has opposed the scheme as being of little benefit to the borough and over the loss of green belt.

A recent investigation revealed the Lower Thames Crossing will only relieve congestion at the Dartford crossing for five years.

If the project, to link Kent with Essex via two new 2.5 mile tunnels under the Thames, does get the go ahead it would be delayed by two years. the Government has confirmed Under plans to revamp its scrutiny committees, the council is proposing to scrap the task force along with the hidden and extreme harms prevention committee and the local development framework task force and merge their work into three new scrutiny committees: people, place and corporate.

The Thames Crossing Action Group has called on the council to reconsider the move. Chairman Laura Blake, said: “This committee allows us to maintain the working relationship that we have all built over the years.

“This is a huge and complex project and those of us who have worked on/with the Task Force over the years have considerable knowledge and experience that we wish and need to continue sharing and utilising at such a critical time in regard to the proposed crossing.”

A report to the general services committee, which was due to discuss the issue lon Tuesday, said: “The Centre for Governance and Scrutiny came to the view, following consultation, that certain committees and task forces currently set up were better served within the new overview and scrutiny structure and by being brought back into the remit of overview and scrutiny gave weight and importance to the primacy of overview as the review function of the council.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter