The Thames Crossing Action Group (TCAG) have publicly thanked Stephen Metcalfe, MP (Basildon South and East Thurrock) for his prompt action in meeting with the new Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper MP to discuss the highly controversial proposed Lower Thames Crossing.
The action group have shared on their website that Mr Metcalfe gave the new Transport Secretary a copy of a letter TCAG had written to Mr Harper, and suggested he read it. He also suggested that Mr Harper review the current proposal by National Highways to submit their planning application (Development Consent Order) for the LTC imminently, highlighting that NH will lock in the various problems with the scheme, reports Your Thurrock.
Mr Metcalfe has also recently called for an urgent LTC debate in parliament. This follows an LTC Adjournment Debate called earlier in the year by Adam Holloway MP (Gravesham), where he was joined by Stephen Metcalfe MP, Jackie Doyle Price MP, and Louie French MP, all of whom voiced concerns about the proposed LTC.
At a recent LTC Task Force meeting, held by Thurrock Council, a National Highways LTC representative said that their current aim was to attempt to resubmit the planning application in the first two weeks of November. National Highways previously attempted to submit the LTC planning application in October 2020, but withdrew the application in November 2022 as the Planning Inspectorate were due to refuse the application. At the time LTC Executive Director, Matt Palmer had stated he expected the application to be resubmitted within 90-120 days of the original application being withdrawn, which clearly did not happen.
It remains to be seen if or when the LTC planning application is resubmitted, but one thing is for sure, many are still concerned about the proposed new crossing, which as our country is facing an economic crisis, is now predicted to have a cost of around £10bn, all of which would be funded by taxpayers’ money, said the Your Thurrock report.
Laura Blake, Chair of Thames Crossing Action Group said: “We are grateful that Stephen has acted so quickly on this, meeting with the new Transport Secretary within around 24 hours of him being appointed, because he wanted LTC to be one of the first things on Mr Harper’s desk. We feel it is important that National Highways at very least hold off attempting to resubmit the LTC DCO application until after such meetings and debate have taken place. We thank Stephen for his continued support, and hope that he and other MPs will get the chance to discuss the LTC further with Mr Harper and at the debate.”