Thurrock councillors continue their opposition to Lower Thames Crossing

Thurrock councillors say they remain opposed to the proposed Lower Thames Crossing which they say will drive a wedge “through the heart of the borough”.

The controversial £10billion project to link Kent with Essex via two new 2.5 mile tunnels under the Thames has attracted cross party opposition.

A motion tabled to council by Fraser Massey, Independent councillor for East Tilbury, called for that opposition to continue.

Speaking at a full council meeting on Wednesday. Cllr Massey chairman of Thurrock Council’s Lower Thames Crossing task force said: “Those working on the Lower Thames Crossing for the council have produced some really good work for the taskforce and I hope they will be able to continue this important work for the benefit of the borough.

“The project consumes much of our green belt. It impacts on our local plan, it impacts on our residents’ health and it will be a permanent physical barrier going right through the heart of our borough and its communities.”

John Kent, leader of the Labour group tabled an amendment to the motion, calling on cabinet to earmark resources to fight the scheme despite the council’s £469million deficit.

Cllr Kent said: The crossing will be an ecological and environmental disaster for Thurrock and it won’t actually achieve the aims of the crossing. It won’t increase the resilience of local road network It will just drive that motorway through the heart of the borough.

“For the last ten years we’ve had active opposition to this scheme that’s been backed with council funding to make sure that we could hold public engagement events and to hire experts to advise us.

“We now know we are no longer funding those experts that we desperately need and without putting some funds there it turns from being active opposition to passive opposition.”

Laura Blake, chairman of Thames Crossing Action Group, said: “We are of course delighted that all Thurrock councillors remain united in their unanimous opposition to the proposed crossing.

Councillors are right to acknowledge the severity of the impact the proposed crossing would have on Thurrock, and indeed throughout the region both north and south of the river.

National Highways application for a Development Consent Order has been accepted by the Government.

Cllr Massey’s scheme was passed by councillors but Cllr Kent’s amendment was rejected.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter