ESSEX County Council is disappointed that the Government is to delay making an announcement on where a new River Thames crossing will be located.

Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, announced yesterday that the Government will now look in more detail at the two remaining options and consider the impact free-flow tolling has on traffic at the current crossing.

Option A would see a new crossing built next to the current Thurrock-Dartford one, while Option C would see a new crossing landing between Coalhouse Fort in East Tilbury and Tilbury Fort.

Kevin Bentley, deputy leader at the County Council said: "We urgently need clarity on the Lower Thames Crossing and delaying the decision is bad news for businesses and residents and holds up our plans for economic growth.

"This is a vital link that is needed as part of the recovery of UK PLC and we need a clear view on this scheme to enable inward investment to Essex and beyond."

Essex County Council announced last year - during the Government's consultation on the three crossing route options - that it would be backing Option C.

Option B, that would have landed a crossing on or near Grays Beach Park, was thrown out in December.

Mr Bentley, who is also the council's cabinet member for economic growth and infrastructure, added: "We have made it very clear that additional capacity is needed in order to support economic growth and relieve congestion at the existing crossing, and we reiterate our position that Option C offers the best way of achieving this.

"We understand from the DfT that improvements planned for Junction 30 of the M25 in 2015 will go ahead regardless of the location of the new crossing, but we would like clarification from DfT that this is the case."

Mr Bentley also called for improvement works to be carried out at the junctions of the A13 and A12 with the M25, the A127 with the A130 and the A130 with the A12.

He said: "These need to be considered to ensure that journeys in the vicinity of the Crossing are reliable on the busy road network."