EMISSION problems on the A127 go far beyond the Fortune of War junction, councillors have said.

The comments come as Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, called for the straightening of the junction as a direct alternative to lowering the speed limit to 50mph.

Andrew Gordon, Labour councillor for Lee Chapel North, said: “It would be nice if Mr Francois lobbied central Government for additional funding for our council so we can invest in improving the A127 as a whole.

“It is a wider issue than just one junction and we need funding to make sure it’s fit for the future - whether that’s smoothing out junctions, adding extra lanes or improving connectivity to the rest of Essex.

“I’m not a highways expert so can’t say with authority but I imagine it would help.

"However, even if we wanted to change the Fortune of War, we would not have the resources to fund it. My challenge to him would be to help give us the funding so we can vastly improve the infrastructure for future generations.”

Basildon Council leader Gavin Callaghan branded Mr Francois’s comments a “fairytale solution”, adding: “Mark is ignoring the evidence. The Government have given us a deadline of December 2020 to make our air pollution below the legal limit. We have to come up with solutions – if we don’t, a congestion charge will be imposed. Nobody wants to lower speed limits. I am dealing with the practical solutions. I don’t have the luxury of coming up with fairytale solutions.

“Everyone would love to straighten out the Fortune of War, but there’s issues with plumbing and cabling. If it was simple, it would have been done before. We want the road to be managed by Essex Highways, it needs to be ‘trunked’.

“Mark’s solution would take the best part of a decade, we don’t have the time.”