Stephen Metcalfe MP meets Road Minister
Stephen Metcalfe MP (South Basildon and East Thurrock) today (1st Feb 2023) pressed his ongoing concerns about the Lower Thames Crossing proposal to Roads Minister, Richard Holden MP.
The meeting follows Stephen raising a question about the proposed LTC in the House of Commons on 19th Jan 2023.
The aim of the meeting was fourfold. Firstly, Stephen continued to raise concern that the proposal would not address the original need to reduce congestion at the existing crossing, as all projections still indicate that, even after the construction of the Lower Thames Crossing, the Dartford Crossing will still be over capacity.
Stephen also queried with the Minister whether the ever-increasing cost still represented value for money, particularly in light of the recent downgrading of the Benefit/Cost Ratio.
In addition, he raised concerns that the current traffic models show a significant detrimental impact on local traffic around the existing road network where it intersects with the LTC, which could lead to significant delays to traffic moving around the east of the Borough.
Finally, Stephen wanted to get a clear understanding of the role the Government can, or will, play during the Development Consent Order (DCO) process.
During the discussion, the Minister evidently listened carefully to the points raised and understood Stephen’s comments.
The Minister explained that now that National Highways had submitted the DCO, which is a formal legal process, the Government was unable to comment publicly on the plans. Nonetheless, he did explain that all the issues raised would be carefully examined during the public examination part of the DCO process and that, once the DCO process had been completed, a final decision would be taken in the Department for Transport considering all the points raised.
Following the meeting Stephen said
“I am grateful to the Minister for his time and for his explanation of the current position. I have subsequently registered to take part in the public examination and would encourage others to do the same by visiting: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-east/lower-thames-crossing/ ”
“Whilst I will continue to raise my concerns about the project at the highest level, we also need to engage with the LTC team to make sure that they understand our concerns and do all they can to mitigate the projects impact on the local community.”
We again thank Stephen for continuing to voice serious concerns about the proposed LTC. It is good to know that he was able to secure the meeting following his question in the House recently. We are grateful to Mr Holden for meeting with Stephen, and hope Ministers are giving urgent consideration to the LTC issues.
We were also pleased that when he responded to Stephen’s question in the House that he commented that LTC is a huge infrastructure project, and that it is important to get it right. With so much evidence showing that the proposed LTC would fail to meet scheme objectives, and would be hugely destructive and harmful, and not fit for purpose on so many levels, it is clear to us that the proposed LTC is nowhere near right, and it would be a huge waste of £10bn+++ of taxpayers’ money.
What else Stephen is doing in regard to LTC
Stephen has also commented on our letter to the Public Accounts Committee and Treasury Officer of Accounts. He has told us that he feels we have made some valid points. He has written to the Chancellor asking him to address the valid point raised. We await the response.
On that topic TCAG have also been sharing copies of the letter to the PAC and TOA with various other relevant people and departments. It is vital that Ministers and others are aware of how they are being misled by outdate and misleading info in regard to the proposed LTC. We have also made a Spring Budget representation in regard to the proposed LTC.
Ministers being misled about proposed LTC – click here
Questionable carbon slashing claims over carbon issues – click here
Jackie Doyle-Price MP calls for LTC plans to be ripped up – click here
TCAG letters to Government October 2022 – click here
LTC Adjournment Debate – click here