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Unitary theatens Highways England with legal action

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Thurrock Council has threatened legal action against Highways England in a dispute over the route of the Lower Thames Crossing.

The crossing, with 23km of new roads and two parallel 4km tunnels, is intended to link the M25 in Essex to the M2 in Kent between points east of Tilbury and Gravesend respectively.

Thurrock leader Rob Gledhill (Con) said: “I am pleased that members have supported my motion to explore a judicial review or any other legal action that might be possible against Highways England and their abysmal Lower Thames Crossing proposals.

“The Lower Thames Crossing will be a three-lane motorway, all of which is above ground, tearing through the heart of Thurrock and creating a visible scar on our landscape.”

He said lengthy construction works would damage residents’ health and wellbeing but still leave the area with poor connectivity to the new crossing.

Highways England launched a 10-week consultation on its proposals on 10 October.

It said the crossing would “provide over 90% more road capacity across the River Thames east of London and transform journeys through the south east region and beyond”, with 27m vehicles forecast to use it in its first year, delivering a 22% reduction in numbers using the existing Dartford crossing.

A Highways England spokesperson said: ”We recognise that projects of this size and scale, despite the long-term economic benefits they bring can be very disruptive to the communities closest to them, and can create a stress and anxiety. We are therefore working very hard to reduce the impact of our works as much as we can.

“We are in almost daily contact with Thurrock Council and meet weekly with them. We’ll continue to work closely with the council to develop the best possible project for local residents and businesses, as well as the wider region.”

Southend-on-Sea BC last week called for a Crossrail extension to the town and another Thames crossing further east of that planned.


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