THE impact of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing on public health may not have been adequately assessed and those at risk not consulted enough, a new report has revealed.

An independent review of the Health and Equalities Impact Assessment, compiled for Thurrock Council’s Lower Thames Crossing Task Force, questions whether assessments of health risks and mitigation to lessen the risks have been ‘robust’ enough.

Consultant Stantec UK was appointed by a number of councils, including Thurrock and Southend, to look at the quality of the Health and Equalities Impact Assessment prepared by Highways England for the crossing.

Stantec had discussions about the assessment with technical experts about air quality, noise and vibration, transport, stakeholder consultation, climate change, land contamination, flood risk and drainage.

The review, based on guidelines from the Wales Impact Assessment Support Unit, concluded Highways England’s assessment “does not fully meet the best practice requirements of the guidance”.

A report said “a number of concerns have been raised with the source documents” such as a transport assessment, and it was also unclear whether health impacts could be “mitigated against”.

Looking at whether residents had the opportunity to participate in a decision affecting their health and well-being, Sentec said: “There are concerns regarding the statutory consultation that has been undertaken, including the accessibility of the consultation events and material, including the impact of Covid-19.”

Matt Palmer, Executive Director of Lower Thames Crossing, said: “We have undertaken extensive and robust assessments of the impact of the project including health impacts, and shared these with the public and local authorities through the most comprehensive programme of consultation undertaken for a UK road project. Later this summer we will deliver a further round of consultation and will be sharing updated information on our plans to build and operate the project, and how we propose to reduce the impact on communities and the environment.”