A council bosses has been slammed after 'politicising' Government demands about a Basildon air congestion charge zone.

In a letter to Gavin Callaghan, leader of Basildon Council, Essex County Council boss David Finch said he was disappointed by the attempts and misinformation.

A congestion charge for the A127 has been touted by government bosses, but has been heavily opposed by Basildon Council and several South Essex MP's.

Mr Finch wrote: "I am writing to express my huge disappointment at the way in which you have attempted to politicise the issue of air quality in Basildon and your decision to publish inaccurate information about the project and this authority, which has served only to cause confusion and undermine the hard work of both Essex County Council and Basildon Borough Council officers in this area.

"Let me start by being abundantly clear, as we always have been, that we are strongly opposed to a charging clean air zone in Basildon. We believe the measure would be completely disproportionate and would unfairly impact our smaller businesses in particular. We would never voluntarily introduce a charging clean air zone in the area, and have continually challenge any direction to do so by Government, and the continued challenges facing businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have only strengthened this view."

But Mr Callaghan hit back saying the county council is sweeping the truth under the carpet.

Mr Finch added: "Specifically in relation to your Facebook post on the Basildon Borough Community Page on Saturday 14 November, I will highlight a number of major inaccuracies. You state that ‘Basildon Council has been working around the clock to devise a scheme to stop the Conservative Government and Conservative Essex County Council from imposing a congestion charge on the A127’.

Responding Mr Callaghan said: "This is another embarrassing attempt by ECC to sweep the truth under the carpet. They have mismanaged Basildon’s road network for 30 years and on the day the Ministerial Direction was issued, the Executive Director Mark Carroll called us to inform us that ECC needed to implement the charge.

“From that moment on, Basildon has done everything we can to prevent a charge coming to this borough. Basildon officers have worked around the clock and I’m proud of their efforts to make sure Basildon’s residents and businesses are not asked to pay for ECC’s legacy of failures”.