A PUBLIC meeting has been called to discuss the latest on the Government's proposals for a new Lower Thames Crossing.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, September 11 at the Culver Centre in South Ockendon.

It follows on from a successful gathering at Orsett Hall in April.

The Department for Transport is currently weighing up which route out of Option A - a new crossing next to the current one - or Option C, a new crossing landing between Coalhouse Fort, East Tilbury and Tilbury Fort is best.

Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, announced last month, following a period of consultation, that the Government would wait to see the impact free-flow tolling has on the current crossing when it is introduced in October, before making any decision.

He added that refinements would be made to the current proposals.

At the April meeting, residents suggested the council set up a petition against the proposals. That has so far attracted just 974 signatures.

John Kent, the Labour leader of Thurrock Council, said: "We want everyone else – those affected by Option A as well as C – to join in and enable us to show the powers that be that we don’t want or need another Thames crossing in Thurrock. Just go to the council’s website, click on ‘travel and transport’ and follow the links.

"This isn’t simply a NIMBY knee-jerk reaction, it’s a well-argued and considered position and one the council has been pushing for over four years now.

"We seem to be slowly winning the argument as the government has agreed to postponed decisions until after its considered the effects of the free-flow tolls which start in October – something we’ve been calling for from the beginning.

"But the danger of the crossing going ahead hasn’t disappeared. Thurrock as a community must unite and keep up the pressure and this meeting is the next step."

Mr Kent said Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price had been invited.

He added: "In recent months the call for more crossings between here and the City of London has increased and the impact these will have on our roads also need to be considered.

"One option – the Belvedere Bridge at Rainham – for example, is expected to take 800 vehicle movements off the current crossing during its busiest morning hour alone. All these proposals must be looked at and we must also continue asking the government to look at the crossing options to the east; the crossings known as Options D and E."