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Government threat of A127 congestion charge

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  • Government threat of A127 congestion charge

    MORE than 3,000 people signed a petition in less than 48 hours, to campaign against a proposed congestion charge on the A127.

  • #2
    Basildon Council vows to fight proposed A127 congestion charge, after Labour member reads aloud from Government report saying it could be imposed

    Monday, 12 February 2018

    Adele Brown (inset) read aloud from a Government report threatening imposition of congestion zones in polluted areas, including the A127.
    A LABOUR councillor read from a Government report in a public meeting last week, which she said clearly stated that a congestion zone could be imposed on the A127.

    Adele Brown read aloud from the Defra report at the Bas Centre last Thursday, February 8, after Tory councillors claimed the Government plot did not really exist.

    She made the speech as she asked councillors to back a motion formally objecting to any future proposed congestion zone.

    The Yellow Advertiser exclusively revealed last month that Basildon and Rochford councils had received ’ministerial direction’ to tackle two areas of illegal air pollution along the Arterial.

    A report presented to Basildon councillors said the authorities had been told they ’must’ consider imposing a congestion zone. If they chose to pursue another method, it said, they had been told they would have to prove it was ’at least as effective’ as a congestion zone.

    Government has sent the same instructions to local authorities across the country, giving them a deadline of 2020 to eradicate all areas of illegal pollution.

    Addressing the meeting, Cllr Brown said respiratory disease was ’one of the biggest premature killers of those who live south of the A127’, and ’responsible for a large number of admissions’ to local hospitals.

    She said: “Finding long-term, sustainable solutions to tackling rising air pollution and its impact on health in our borough must be a priority for this council. But moreso, and more crucially, it’s the moral and legal responsibility of our central Government.

    “Just like social care, they are wanting to pass the buck yet again onto local residents. They want local councils to take this hit.

    “The report proves that ministers are serious. They are looking to make us pay. They want councils, who are already being put under more pressure and being asked to do more with far less money than they’ve ever had, to dig them out of this hole.”

    Tory councillor Andrew Schrader said he agreed that pollution was ’poisoning our residents’, telling the meeting: “This is a serious issue and it needs addressing.”

    But he described Cllr Brown’s motion as ’mendacious, party-political cant’ and dismissed a petition against the proposal – signed by more than 12,000 residents – as ’entirely disingenuous’.

    Cllr Schrader claimed the proposed congestion charge ’simply does not exist’.

    He said a report presented to Basildon councillors had described a congestion zone as ’unlikely’.

    He said: “Legislation requires we consider it. Well, we considered it – and everyone agreed it was a naff idea.”

    UKIP councillor Stephen Ward receive applause when he rose and said: “It’s got to be rejected. Not an ’unlikely’, not anything – other than a complete and utter ’no’.”

    When Cllr Brown spoke again she cited a Defra report, saying it gave more detail than the brief report presented to Basildon councillors.

    She told the meeting: “Page 11, paragraph 16, it says your Government has said that given the local nature of the problem, the problem needs to be remedied by the local authorities.

    “Paragraph 23; where remedies are not found, the Government will require local authorities to implement the necessary measures deemed by central Government.

    “Paragraph 18 lists those. Their number one choice, and I quote, ’a charging clean air zone’.

    “Do not think your Government doesn’t have the power to impose this, and it is not their number one choice where we fail to improve air quality.”

    Cllr Schrader tried to amend the motion to say that the Conservative Government had described an A127 congestion zone as ’unlikely’, and to remove all other mentions of the word ’Conservative’.

    However, the comment that it was ’unlikely’ was made in a Basildon Council report, not a Government report. Cllr Schrader’s amendment was voted down.

    All Labour, UKIP and independent councillors voted to pass Cllr Brown’s motion.