Thurrock Council has accused Highways England of a ‘cowardly’ and ‘despicable’ U-turn over the management of lay-bys on the A1089 Dock Approach Road in Tilbury.
The council has promised to write to ministers over the issue. It claimed that ‘despite over a year’s worth of promises’ to tidy up and close lay-bys on the road, for which Highways England is responsible, the Government-owned company was now refusing to do so.
Cllr Brian Little inspects the verges on the A1089
It said concerns had been raised over the safety of other road users ‘when heavy goods vehicles overhang on the lay-bys as well as the health concerns regarding the waste left behind', which has included human waste.
Council leader Rob Gledhill said: ‘It is an absolute disgrace – but I’ve learnt to not trust anything Highways England says.’
Cllr Gledhill linked the issue to Highways England’s recent consultation about a new Thames crossing in the area, which he said was ‘so flawed it should have been stopped completely’.
‘And then this – to promise to do something for over a year and then cowardly send an e-mail to say they aren't is despicable.’
Cllr Gledhill said the council had put its promises into action by twice cleaning up areas on the adjoining A13 for which it was responsible.
Cllr Brian Little, portfolio holder for transport, said ‘We will be writing to Highways England again to put our case formally forward – this needs to be reviewed urgently. I will also be writing to the minister of state for transport to ask them to look at this debacle personally.’
A Highways England spokesperson told Transport Network: 'Highways England remains committed to working and communicating closely with Thurrock Council. We have held several meetings with council representatives over the last month alone discussing various matters including congestion and litter.
'We have already closed four lay-bys on the A13 and remain committed to closing more. We have already arranged a meeting with Thurrock Council to discuss ways of doing this.'