We’ve shared updates about the cost of the proposed LTC before, including an update in March that explained that the Road Investment Strategy 2 budget had been released as part of the Spring budget. In that report the figure allocated against the proposed Lower Thames Crossing was £6.4bn-£8.2bn.
When questioned at the LTC Task Force Meeting in July an HE/LTC representative confirmed that the new cost for the proposed LTC was indeed now sitting at £6.4bn – £8.2bn.
That was most definitely an increase since the last official figure that Highways England had released in relation to the cost of the LTC, which previously had been £5.3bn-£6.8bn.
Our understanding is that any significant changes to the project should warrant consultation. So why haven’t Highways England declared this increase in cost in the latest Design Consultation?
As we have highlighted previously, this now means that the cost of the proposed LTC per mile is nearly £573.5m per mile.
Compare that to the cost of the highly controversial HS2, which is being scrutinised over a cost sitting at at £307m per mile of track.
To be clear we are not commenting that one is any less impactful than the other, this reference is purely to highlight the fact that there is a lot of attention over the cost of HS2, and LTC is a lot more expensive per mile.
And this is tax payers money, and we’ll be charged to use it too if it goes ahead!
Just let that sink in…..
And that’s not even the true cost!
As we all know projects of this size and scale never run to budget, so we can safely presume that the overall cost for LTC will be over £8.2bn.
In additon to the cost of the actual project in monetary terms there is of course also the cost to our lives, health, communities etc. The environmental cost with the loss of greenbelt land, ancient woodland, grade 1 agricultural land, countryside, impacts to wildlife and their habitats.
How do you put a price on all of that? How much will end up being spent in NHS costs as a direct result of the air pollution related illness caused by the LTC Toxic Triangle?
Thurrock Council have published a report that states at least £150m in loss to Thurrock as a direct result of LTC if it goes ahead. If one impacted local authority reports this kind of impact then surely it can be considered that the other impacted areas will also be impacted in a similar way?
Then there’s the matter of how HE/LTC have removed the Tilbury Link Road and Rest/Service Area from the LTC project, but both projects are now being considered as separate stand alone projects in their own right. We would question whether this is being done to try and make the benefit cost ration of the LTC look better than it really is. To be clear the Tilbury Link Rd is already featuring in the Road Investment Strategy 3 as a pipeline project, and we know the rest/service area is also still being discussed as a separate project. If they are deemed worthy enough to still be considered in these ways, then why have they been removed from the LTC project? Not that we want them of course, but the question has to be asked!
Oh and then there’s the issue of all the additional works that will need to take place to the existing road network as a direct result of LTC. We all know that if the LTC goes ahead it will create the need for much more additional work on the connecting roads, because we know that HE/LTC are not factoring in adequate connections, and it is not fit for purpose.
Not forgetting that the Dartford Crossing will still also be over capacity even if LTC goes ahead, so all this cost in so many ways and forms, yet the original issue that the LTC was meant to address will still not be solved.
How can this be considered good value for money by any stretch of the imagination?! Plus why is this significant change to the LTC project not being disclosed in the current consultation?
Have your say
Please do have your say in the LTC Design Refinement Consultation before 23:59 on Weds 12th August 2020. Tell them that you feel the public should have been advised of this significant change in the consultation materials. Tell them whether you feel it is taxpayers money well spent!
Obviously there is nowhere in the official response forms they ask you about cost, as they haven’t even disclosed this info as part of the consultation materials, so use the ‘Other Comments’ section to have your say!