Our role in planning

Growth, development and major infrastructure

There are several large infrastructure projects planned to support rapid growth in Essex. Major development can affect local services. It can also have an impact on regional and national networks, such as road and rail.

We play a role in all ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects’ and other major developments affecting the area. We seek to influence these projects at all stages and represent the interests of Essex.

Below are some examples of projects we’re working on.

Lower Thames River Crossing

Routes for a third Thames River crossing between Essex and Kent are being considered. The crossing may need further measures, such as traffic re-routing and junction improvements. See more at Highways England Lower Thames Crossing.


The first phase of Crossrail will soon be complete. This will serve parts of Essex, as far as Shenfield. It will provide fast, convenient links westwards through London and beyond. Crossrail 2 is under consideration, with potential to serve Harlow and south Essex.

London Gateway (DP World)

The London Gateway is a new deep-sea container port, which is expanding with a third ship berth.

Harwich International Port

Harwich Port has planning consent for major expansion. The project has until 2021 to start. It relates to improvements for the A120.

London Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport’s sustainable development plans include the more efficient use of its existing runway. It also aims to grow its customers by 5 million in a year while remaining at its current size.

London Southend Airport

Southend Airport has grown significantly since it opened a new terminal and railway station in 2012. It now offers a wide range of flights to European cities and holiday destinations.

Bradwell Nuclear Power Station

Bradwell A, the original Magnox nuclear power station, is going through a long-term decommissioning process. In July 2011, the government identified Bradwell B as one of eight potential sites for new nuclear power stations planned for England and Wales.

Garden Communities

Garden Communities are large developments creating well-planned, sustainable places to live. Several Essex councils are working with each other and the government on these. In north Essex, Braintree, Colchester and Tendring have plans for new communities. In west Essex, growth will focus on the expansion of Harlow.

Harlow expansion

Harlow Council is working with other authorities towards a new Local Plan. It’s coordinating this with the emerging plans of neighbouring town councils. This is likely to involve ambitious growth in Harlow, East Hertfordshire and Epping Forest.

More information

View our Planning Performance Agreements section to find out how to get support with your major proposal.

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