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M25-linked box junction set for Thurrock Council fine plan

A COUNCIL is set to introduce a “lucrative” plan to fine motorists for stopping in a yellow box junction linked to the M25.

Thurrock Council is set to use new legislation, which came into effect in 2021, to fine motorists £70 for stopping in the yellow box at the Purfleet Interchange.

The legislation allows councils to use cameras to pick up offences in places such as box junctions as well as cycle and bus lanes or where turns are banned, and Southend Council has also touted using the cameras at busy junctions.

Ben Maney, councillor responsible for regeneration and highways, unveiled the plan at an extraordinary corporate overview and scrutiny meeting on Tuesday where budget proposals aimed at saving £18.2million for the debt-laden council were debated.

He said: “We are proposing to begin enforcing moving traffic offences at junction 31, particularly within the yellow junction there. It’s an area has a high flow of traffic that’s not local to Thurrock.

“It is vital that junction is kept clear. If you live in the heart of the borough and there is an incident at the Dartford crossing its often not that incident that causes our local road network to become gridlocked, it is people blocking that junction and it’s something police have highlighted.

“It’s a significant capital investment but the returns from the enforcement activity there could be, I don’t want to use the word lucrative but they are but it’s not just about procuring an income it is about keeping an important junctions free flowing.”

Luke Spillman, chairman of the planning, transport and regeneration overview and scrutiny committee, spoke against the proposal stating it only becomes an issue when there is a “severe incident”.

He said: “As someone who uses that junction every day, I’ve got a lot of knowledge about how that junction functions and the only time that junction becomes problematic is when there is some form of severe traffic incident like a lane blocked. It becomes a very pressured situation and very difficult to drive so for me the idea of having a moving traffic penalty there is something I’m quite uncomfortable with.

“The only way you are going to collect fines is when there’s periods of real traffic problems and I don’t think that’s fair on drivers.”

Neil Speight, Independent councillor for Stanford-le-Hope West said suggestions that had been made of putting it back a year were sensible.

He said “The junction at the M25 is a huge problem but it’s a budget matter not a highways matter. Let’s not spend £498,000 on this scheme to make £348,000.”

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