Reaction to new Thames Crossing plans “splits Essex”

The Government’s plans to build the Lower Thames Crossing at “Option C Variant 3” has led to what’s being described as “a clear divide” in opinion across Essex.

The Enquirer.co.uk says that while Thurrock councillors and MPs have been highly vocal in their opposition to the plan, which will take vehicles through their borough, elsewhere in Essex the news was welcomed.

Essex County Council have released a statement saying that the decision was “a big step forward to ending costly traffic queues.”

Andrew Cook, Director for Highways and Transportation at Essex County Council, is quoted as saying, “Today’s announcement will transform Essex’s transport infrastructure.

“A new Thames Crossing is vital to help continue to promote economic growth within the county and keep Essex moving.

“We also are pleased to hear the additional announcement on widening of the A13 to support increased economic activity in south Essex and the pressure this brings about on key infrastructure in the area.

“This crossing is a big step forward to ending costly traffic queues that often form around the crossing and can tailback onto our county’s roads.”

Thurrock Business Board Chair, Marc Myers, told the website, “Although I’m very pleased to hear the decision – I am cautious that the timings and schedules which have been self-imposed by Highways England are not being met and I hope it bears no link to how Highways England intend to approach the delivery of this project going forward.”

Meanwhile in Kent it’s reported campaigners fighting the decision have written to the transport secretary, accusing Highways England of manipulating a report of consultation responses.

The Gravesend reporter says the Lower Thames Crossing Association (LTCA) claims results were skewed to favour Highways England’s preferred option to build the crossing east of Gravesend, known as Option C, because the opinions of 946 residents in Shorne opposed to the crossing have been “lumped together” and counted as a single organisation because they used similar wording in their consultation responses.

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