Officials at the East London council Havering has written to the Transport Secretary demanding Highways England reverse a decision not to offer its residents a discount on the future Lower Thames Crossing toll.
The council says Highways England had previously promised the council that Havering residents would qualify for a reduction on the toll charge for the new crossing in the same way as residents in Thurrock and Gravesham, but that it has reversed this commitment without any explanation for the U-turn.
In an open letter to Grant Shapps, the leader of Havering Council, Damian White, has called for the local Havering discount to be reinstated and for Highways England to re-open the consultation to give local residents a proper chance to have their say on the plans. He says failure to do this will result in the council pulling its support for the project.
“We won’t stand back and let Highways England short change Havering residents without any justifiable reason,” Cllr White said. “The council considers this U-turn unreasonable, illogical and unfair. In our view, there is no difference between the other councils and Havering as each of them will host the crossing and be affected by it in similar ways.
“The crossing will have a significant impact on Havering and its residents. It will result in noise and disturbance, make our roads even busier and undermine our efforts to improve air quality in the borough.
“Ensuring that our residents can enjoy discounted toll charges won’t offset this but it will go some way to showing the impact on Havering’s residents and businesses have been considered, that we are being treated fairly alongside other local authorities, and that the wellbeing of our local communities has been, and will be, considered.”