As this topic is constantly changing we will keep you updated and also provide a list of links to archived updates on this matter below. We hope that presenting the info in this way will make it easier to follow the changes, and be able to reference changes in chronological order if you wish.
Stephen Metcalfe MP told us earlier today that he had spoken again to HE last night about the consultation and fed back that he believes it needs to stop on the basis that the public are anxious and distracted and that HE would be tone deaf to carry on. We thank Mr Metcalfe for his continued support, and sensible comments to HE at this very strange and uncertain time.
HE have since announced
We responded with – March 19th 2020 – TCAG 2nd email to HE and officials please do have a read as this is the most recent email we have sent in response to this.
We have be alerted by local community forums that they have had the following letter emailed to them regarding this matter. However as of the current moment at 18:00 on Thurs 19th March 2020 Thames Crossing Action Group have not been sent a copy of this letter by HE/LTC.
We are also aware that HE/LTC appear to have started sending emails to the general mailing list, so we would expect you to get that email too, if you are signed up for updates from HE on LTC.
This is a copy of the letter that has been emailed to community forums:200319 Letter from LTC Project Director
NB. This is the first time we have witnessed any interaction between Interim Project Director, Alan Seywright and the public about LTC since he took the position in July 2019.
We stand by our response in our second email to HE and other officials today, and still call for the postponement of this Supplementary Consultation until such time that the current Coronavirus crisis has passed.
In addition with regard to Mr Seywright’s letter we would comment here that Local Authorities are quite rightly and obviously extremely busy and putting all their resources into the Coronavirus crisis at present, and are very unlikely to be able to can support HE’s newly planned campaign in getting details out to local communities.
Paragraph added 08:00 20/03/20 – We have also now seen that in the list of critical sectors issued by the Government on 19th March (www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision) it states ” Local and national government – This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.” Another example of how out of touch HE are to think that our local authorities have nothing better to do right now than help them promote a weeks extension to the consultation, which everyone is calling to be postponed.
We also do not feel that the progress of the LTC scheme should be put ahead of fair and adequate consultation, or the health and well-being of members of the public. HE have a legal obligation to consult us adequately, and we deserve fair, safe opportunity to take part. With the worldwide pandemic crisis that is taking part there is no way we should be put under additional pressure to have to take part in consultation on such an important matter, in the midst of this crisis. We have enough to deal with, just in general day to day life right now, as outlined in our email.
Thurrock Council’s response (added to site 23/03/20)
“It remains the position that the Council has concerns about the accessibility to and availability of sufficient information to enable residents to provide an informed consultation response. A reply will be sent to Highways England to reinforce this position.”
Have your say
We would encourage anyone who feels that it is an inadequacy of consultation to continue with this consultation in light of the serious nature of the Coronavirus, and who feels that there is a need for the current consultation to be postponed until after the threat of Coronavirus has passed to please email Highways England – firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, and copy in the Planning Inspectorate – LowerThamesCrossing@planninginspectorate.gov.uk and if a resident in Thurrock also cc – LTCAdmin@thurrock.gov.uk, those outside of Thurrock may also wish to copy in their local authority or MP.
You may remember we have also sent emails with regard to concerns over inadequacies of the official LTC website – see – www.thamescrossingactiongroup.com/yet-more-he-inadequacies/. We will also be following up with a further email listing other concerns of inadequacies of this consultation, such as misleading and inaccurate info, conflicting info given at events, lack of staff knowledge and ability to answer questions at info events, late and erroneous letters being sent to residents, and many other points. Please also include any other concerns and evidence you have about any other concerns over inadequacies of the consultation in your email regarding the request for postponement and re-run of the consultation if you wish.
Highways England have a legal obligation to consult us all adequately with clear and informative material. If we feel this isn’t the case we all have the right to bring this to their and the Planning Inspectorate’s attention. We can’t stress how important it is that if you feel there are any inadequacies of consultation you need to please report them asap. Thanks.
To be 100% clear at this time all remaining LTC consultation info events have been cancelled, however consultation continues, and will now run until 23:59 on Thursday 2nd April 2020, so we ask everyone to please continue to do their best to respond to the consultation. Please comment in your response about any concerns you have about the inadequacies of the consultation and cancellation of info events whilst continuing with the consultation. Please do that in addition to email as outlined above. Thanks
For further info/advice on Coronavirus please visit the NHS site – www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ and also the Government’s official response – www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
Take care people, look after yourself and each other.