THE new Government “will be given hell” regardless of who wins a general election if plans for a congestion charge on the A127 are pushed through.

Councillors showed a united front as they continued to insist that charging drivers was not the way forward.

During the latest Basildon Council meeting an officer revealed “a full congestion charge would meet compliance”, but a charge on only large vehicles could see the council fall short on solving the pollution problem.

This is despite the council’s hope of cutting the speed limit doing the trick.

Conservative councillor Kevin Blake added: “We will continue to oppose whoever is in Government against a congestion charge, whether it be HGVs or anything else.

“In particular, we have to make sure our taxi services are not taken in by that, that is absolutely essentially.

“We have been a united front with other parties for this for many months, we are against a charge and will continue to fight it.

“No matter who is in charge at the top they will be given hell.”

During the meeting it was stated that modelling showed a congestion charge on all vehicles would “give compliance”, if drivers were charged between Upper Mayne and East Mayne, Basildon.

This was described as “the worst case scenario”, but the council’s own assessment “gives confidence a congestion charge on HGVs busses, and LGVs, not private vehicles, may lead to compliance.”

Air quality and traffic modelling found that a section of the A127, to the east of the Fortune of War, up to the east of Pound Lane Junction, was exceeding air quality limits for nitrogen dioxide.

It was also revealed that a Government direction on the congestion charge could come in the New Year.

Council leader Gavin Callaghan queried: “You are expecting the Government to put a congestion charge direction to the council?”

To which the officer stated: “That is what we think might happen, yes, but we have to wait until January”.

Adele Brown, a Labour councillor, said: “Ultimately this is about is our residents living in areas that are causing them health issues because of traffic, and that is why we need to do something.

“When the threat of a congestion charge was first mentioned I was mocked for saying this is the Government’s prepared option, our officers are doing everything they can to make sure our residents have a clear air zone to live in without incurring a congestion charge.

“We are doing this because it is right for our residents.

“We need to do something to ensure that the number of respiratory problems we have is dealt with.”

A previous air pollution study showed that two stretches – near the Fortune of War in Laindon and near to Rayleigh Weir – exceeded the national limit of 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide.