CONTROVERSIAL plans for a Lower Thames Crossing have received a major boost after they were backed by Essex County Council.
Out of the four options available, the authority’s chiefs feel Option C is the way forward.
It would connect the M2 with the A13 and the M25, between junctions 29 and 30, and would pass very close to South Ockendon, Orsett, Chadwell St Mary, West Tilbury, East Tilbury, cutting across West Tilbury Marshes.
However the county council bosses warned the Department for Transport must evaluate the impact this would have on local infrastructure.
A spokesman said: “Option C provides the greatest economic benefit to Essex.
“It relieves congestion at the existing Dartford Crossing and provides a new strategic link between the Channel Ports, Essex and much of the UK.
“However, we have noted in our consultation response that further work is necessary to ensure the new crossing ,and its approach roads, have a minimal impact on the environment, local residents and the local road network adjacent to the proposed crossing.”
London mayor Boris Johnson has already said he favours Option C, but South Basildon and East Thurrock MP Stephen Metcalfe said it is the worst possible option for Thurrock.
He said: “The county council’s announcement doesn’t come as any surprise to me.
“Option C will be of huge detriment and is the most invasive to Thurrock.
“The environmental impacts would be huge and I have met with ministers and the secretary of state to express my views.
“We need to look east or west of the existing crossing.
“The M25 will have reached capacity in the next 30 years so maybe we should be looking at an outer London orbital road now.”
Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price has been quite clear with her stance that Thurrock can simply not cope with anymore pressure on its infrastructure. She prefers option D which will link the M2 link to Canvey.
A WILDLIFE care home could close if a new Thames crossing becomes a reality, it is feared.
South Essex Wildlife Hospital, in Orsett Road, Orsett, was founded in 1995 by Sue Schwar as there was no alternative wildlife care centre in the area.
However, it could face closure as the new crossing will cut right through Orsett - dividing much of the borough.
Mrs Schwar said: “This will cause us a huge problem.
“It will destroy a couple of towns and leave our business in a very bad way. Ican’t just up sticks and move.
“We have got a very raw deal, but I am concerned a lot of local people don’t understand the consequences.”
Mrs Schwar said she was speaking with local residents associations in an attempt to form a plan of action.
She added: “We can’t afford to sit and wait for this to happen. We need to stop it.”
WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS?
Option A: new road at the site of the existing A282 Dartford-Thurrock crossing
Option B: new road connecting the A2 with the A1089
Option C: new road connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30