Essex County Council will be meeting next week and one of the issues under discussion will be the Lower Thames Crossing. This is the motion the Tories on Essex County Council will be submitting:

‘This Council fully supports the Government’s announcement of its preferred Option C for the proposed new Lower Thames Crossing.’

It’s fair to say that opinion in Thurrock on the proposed crossing is divided. However, it has to be said there are many people expressing serious concerns about the environmental impact of the road network leading to and from the crossing which will result in the destruction of swathes of greenbelt land. In what is already one of the most polluted locations in the country, there are fears that the new crossing will only serve to make the problem worse. There are also doubts as to whether the scheme will resolve congestion problems in the borough or simply re-locate them.

It has to be noted that when new major roads and motorways are built, they tend to attract new developments. The kind of developments that generate a lot of traffic in their own right. So we could have a situation where a new road and crossing intended to relieve traffic congestion attracts a swathe of new development that generates more traffic and associated congestion, taking us back to square one in a severely damaged environment.

So, how will the Tories on Thurrock Council respond to this? So far, they have been missing in action. A party running the council as a minority administration with the support of just one in three voters in Thurrock appears to have sod all to say about a road and tunnel development that will have severely damaging consequences for the environment in Thurrock. Presumably, the Tories on Thurrock Council are deferring to the wishes of the government in backing off from any opposition to the Lower Thames Crossing. Why are we not in the least bit surprised by this?

All we can say is that at this stage, the Lower Thames Crossing only exists as countless computer files of maps, spreadsheets and other documents on numerous computers and servers. It also exists as a notion in the heads of the politicians who want to ram this scheme down our throats despite our objections. At the moment, there is no physical manifestation of the Lower Thames Crossing. The start of construction is still a fair way off as plans are still being tweaked and finalised. As far as we’re concerned, there’s everything still to play for if people are willing to try new tactics to stop it.