FURIOUS campaigners have revealed they are determined to appeal the Government’s Lower Thames Crossing decision.
The Thames Crossing Action Group, which has long campaigned against the new link road between Essex and Kent, believes it has sufficient grounds in which to lodge a successful appeal over what it calls a “flawed” consultation process.
The route will see the road pass through Ockendon, Orsett and Tilbury.
George Abbott, a member of the group, is devastated by the decision and says he is fully focused on the group’s planning a response, and has teed up meetings with residents along with Highways England bosses, Thurrock Council, and Stephen Metcalfe, Tory MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock.
He said: “I apologise to residents, especially those in Thurrock, that we were not able to influence the change.
“But it is our belief that the consultation process was fundamentally flawed and the reasoning behind this as being the favoured route is weak at best. Option C3 will only serve to alleviate 14 per cent of the traffic from the current Dartford Crossing.
“Coupled with vehicle growth data, it means the crossing will still be over capacity in 2025. And only 31 per cent of participants picked this route as their favoured route.”
He said there were already “critical levels” of pollution in the area and this would only and make the issue worse.
He added: “We have a right to breath clean air and it will be a high priority of the group to understand how Highways England intend to manage the pollution levels.
“But we will keep fighting this route, both publicly and behind the scenes,
“We need the support of everyone to ensure we stand the best possible chance of making a difference.”
Meanwhile south Essex politicians have been calling for a meeting with Highways chiefs to discuss how the decision actually came about.
Rob Gledhill, Conservative leader of Thurrock Council, said he has been “continually outraged and disappointed” at every stage of the decision-making process.
He said: “It is obviously the wrong decision for Thurrock and south Essex and we continue with our objections to this flawed plan. Furthermore, I would respectfully request the Secretary of State for a meeting to outline how this decision was made, as Highways England appear to have ignored Thurrock residents.”
John Kent, leader of Thurrock’s Labour Group, called for political unity.
He said: “Now is the time for people, businesses, and our council to come together and fight as one.”