National Highways announced on the 30th Jan 2023 that they had launched the Lower Thames Crossing community fund.
They state that the Lower Thames Crossing Community Fund has been opened to support local charities and community groups near the proposed Lower Thames Crossing.
Also, that organisations can apply for grants of up to £10,000 to deliver schemes that:
- Encourage physical activity and increase public use of local green spaces
- Improve the health and wellbeing of local communities
- Improving signage and/or way-markings to increase accessibility for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders
- Help communities to connect with their heritage
- Support local communities to secure permanent employment in the wider Lower Thames Crossing potential supply chain
- Increase the use of technology to help local communities better understand the Lower Thames Crossing proposals and inspire future careers in construction.
They have more info about applying for one of these grants on their website here. The deadline for applications is 23.59 on 1 March 2023.
You have to question the irony and hypocrisy that they set the above pointers yet the proposed LTC would destroy and negatively impact green spaces and our ability to use and enjoy them. It would have an adverse impact on health and wellbeing. The new crossing would offer no provision for walkers, cyclist and horse riders to cross the river, and would negatively impact their existing routes. It would impact and sever our heritage and communities, and destroy and impact businesses and jobs. And of course have many other negative impacts.
On the final point we question why a ‘community fund’ is being used to potentially fund the use of technology to help us better understand the LTC proposals. Any technology or materials used to help provide information for people to better understand the proposed LTC should come out of the NH/LTC budget for developing the project, not funds from outside of the project. Plus we understand perfectly well how the proposed LTC is not fit for purpose and should not go ahead already!
So where is the money for this fund coming from?
The LTC community fund is £250,000 of funding that is being made available from the main National Highways Designated Funds pot.
The Designated Fund is money from the Strategic Road Investment. The Road Investment Strategy for between 2020-2025 RIS2 has a Designated Fund worth £936 million. This is all taxpayers’ money.
Put basically it is a fund that communities and others can apply for funding for projects that benefit communities and environment if they are located near the Strategic Road Network (ie roads managed and maintained by NH).
Since most, if not all, areas that can apply for the LTC community fund could apply for funding directly from the Designated Funds anyway, this appears to be just more propaganda to try and put a positive spin on what we all know would be a hugely destructive and harmful project that is not fit for purpose.
They also state in the info that this is an initial fund, and that if the proposed LTC is granted permission a further larger fund will be launched. This is additional money being spent in the name of LTC that is coming from RIS2 funding but not it appears within the estimated £10bn+++ cost of the proposed LTC. Another example of the false economy of the proposed LTC and highlights another way in which people are being mislead.
Designated Funds are supposed to be spent for the benefit of the community and environment impacted by the Strategic Road Network, we don’t believe they should be used by National Highways to promote and attempt to put positive spin on their hugely destructive and harmful projects like and including LTC.
What they have funded already
NH state that they have already been working to fund the following:
- Funding a new high-speed fibre broadband connection in Brentwood
- Improvements to the coastal path and reconnection of the national cycle network, in partnership with ASELA and Thurrock Council
- Heritage restoration works and interpretation at Dagnam Park, in partnership with London Borough of Havering
- Woodland restoration at Telegraph Hill, Higham, in partnership with the North West Kent Countryside Partnership
- A new 95ha community woodland at Great Warley in Brentwood, in partnership with Forestry England
Remember the funds for the above are from National Highways Designated Funds, they would very likely be available regardless of whether the proposed LTC goes ahead or not because of their location to the existing Strategic Road Network. This is just further evidence of how National Highways/LTC are attempting to mislead people about LTC with more propaganda and greenwashing.
National Highways LTC Community Fund info – click here
LTC Community Fund grants awarded – click here
Hole Farm Community Woodland – LTC greenwash – click here