Council bosses are set to hold an emergency meeting over Government demands to introduce an A127 charging zone.

Basildon Council leader Gavin Callaghan has responded to a letter from the Government’s environment boss, urging his authority to implement the cash charge.

Instead, the Labour boss argues a speed limit cut to 50mph between the Fortune of War to Pound Lane junctions by March 2020 would lead to a drop in pollution.

He also vowed to pursue a ‘clean air zone’ from south of the A127 at East Mayne and Upper Mayne by Noak Bridge.

Mr Callaghan said: “The introduction of a charging zone would be massively detrimental to our businesses and economy.

“I am incredibly frustrated we have not been able to do more, quicker to tackle air quality around the A127, but Basildon Council is restricted – it is not the highways authority – and cannot solve congestion alone.

“But we must now commit ourselves to do all we can, work with whomever, and do all it takes to stop the imposition, from government or the county council, of a charging zone in our borough. “This will begin with a reduction in the speed limit to 50mph on the A127 as soon as possible.

“We will also bring pressure to bear on Essex Highways – it’s their responsibility to make sure we meet the government’s deadlines.

“We will also work with our businesses to put together a package of measures that will effectively incentivise them to move more quickly to cleaner, sustainable transport that will improve air quality in our borough.”

The council has sought legal advice on the implications of the Government direction’s impact on its local plan.

The leader plans to write to the planning inspector asking for a short adjournment to the examination in public of the Local Plan - to no later than December. The meeting will take place at 7.30pm on Thursday June 27.