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Basildon Council say A127 charging zone is 'completely inappropriate

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  • Basildon Council say A127 charging zone is 'completely inappropriate

    28th June 2019

    A COUNCIL will introduce a 50-mph speed limit on the A127 after the Government threatened to introduce a charging zone.

    Basildon councillors were near unanimous in supporting leader Gavin Callaghan’s motion to introduce the new speed limit at a full council meeting on Thursday.

    Mr Callaghan revealed that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had released £890,000 to ensure work is completed on installing the new limit by March next year.

    The road already has a 50mph limit from Southend to the Pound Lane junction.

    The extraordinary meeting was called in response to a “scathing” letter delivered to Mr Callaghan and Essex County Council by the Secretary of State for the Environment Dr Thérèse Coffey.

    She strongly criticised the progress made by the councils and their contractors Ringway Jacobs into the feasibility study into improving air quality that began in July 2017, and that she had “no confidence” in them meeting a deadline of 2020.

    Dr Coffey advised the council that due to the lack reasoning provided about the effects of a charging zone between the Pound Lane junction and Fortune of War roundabout, this was something it must now pursue.

    But when addressing the council at the meeting, Gavin Callaghan stated charging motorists to use the A127 would be “a completely inappropriate response”.

    He said: “I have worked in politics for the last ten years, and I have never read anything quite as scathing as that minister’s letter.

    “We are all steadfastly opposed to knee-jerk policy diktats imposed over local people and their representatives that would result in poorly thought out and ineffective responses to the very serious challenges we know we face.

    “The charges that would hit businesses with the zone would be crippling and put a huge amount of pressure on the surrounding roads of Basildon, and the A13, which many will use as a diversion.

    “It would bring Basildon to a complete gridlock.

    “This is something that has been kicking around within County Hall. They clearly did not know what they were doing, and we need to put that right.

    “What we’re getting from Westminster is a sense of more houses versus air quality, when the two issues go hand in hand, so it’s a mixed message and they don’t have their ducks in a row.”

    The council voted to proceed with work to implement the new speed limit, with 39 votes in support, with one abstention.
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