Communication between the council and the Thames Crossing Action Group is expected to improve following the recent council meeting that saw members of the group removed from the chamber.

Thames Crossing Action Group leader, George Abbott, met with Thurrock Council Leader, Rob Gledhill and the council's Chief Executive, Lyn Carpenter, to discuss how the group and the council can have a more accessible conversation over the controversial Lower Thames Crossing.

Mr Abbott told the Gazette that an agreement was made that there would be monthly meetings to discuss the LTC and an email address would be set up specifically for enquiries related to the same topic.

Mr Abbott said: “It was a good opportunity for both sides to express concerns.

"I have expressed my concerns to both Lyn and Rob and I do believe now that there is a plan of action in place that will help the people of Thurrock.

"I still believe that this could have been done earlier. I gave some feedback for the council on how it could work in a more efficient way.”

Councillor Gledhill added: “Thurrock Council reiterated the importance of the views and concerns of residents at its Full Council meeting on Wednesday July 26 and discussion regarding the Lower Thames Crossing.

“The Council has always intended to ensure residents have a voice in continuing our opposition to the LTC, the meeting mentioned by Mr Abbott is very much a part of that engagement."

At the last Full Council meeting, George Abbott stood up to ask a question about the LTC but was told he could not as he did not schedule it in advance.

A heated exchange ensued and Mr Abbott was subsequently removed from the meeting and swore at by UKIP Councillor Kevin Wheeler.

Mr Abbott complained about Councillor Wheeler's action and he replied with a formal apology.

Councillor Wheeler's apology read: "I am writing to apologise unreservedly for my actions at the meeting of the Full Council on Wednesday July 26.

"A matter of this importance to so many Thurrock residents deserves a level of debate and engagement much higher than what I displayed at the meeting."

"I am truly sorry to you and any other residents in attendance who were offended. I fully accept my words and actions were unacceptable and once the meeting had resumed I apologised to the Mayor and all Members."

"The work you and those you represent carry out is of great importance to the issues surrounding the Lower Thames Crossing and should be applauded."

Mr Abbott said about his removal from the council meeting: “I think its exposed the very stark reality that this is going to happen unless we put a plan into action.

"People have realised that we need to get around the table and fight this together. So, in a round-a-bout way, it has been successful."

Also in attendance at the meeting between George Abbott, Councillor Gledhill and Lyn Carpenter, which took place on Wednesday August 2, was MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, Stephen Metcalfe, who Mr Abbott praised.

He said: “I think the general public have a view on how their MP should act and I think that Stephen Metcalfe is that; I have nothing but good things to say about him.”