Highways England have officially announced today (Mon 29th June 2020) that they will be launching the LTC Design Refinement Consultation on proposed design refinements to the Lower Thames Crossing from 00:01 on July 14th and it will run until 23:59 on August 12th 2020. This consultation follows the Statutory Consultation in 2018 and Supplementary Consultation, completed earlier this year.
From 00:01 on the 14th July you will be able to have your say on the proposed refinements, which we have been told will include:
- Minor refinements to elements of the highways design
- Updated paths for walkers, cyclists and horse riders
- Proposals for redirecting and upgrading utilities
- More detailed landscaping proposals
- Further developed ecological mitigation measures
The feedback from this consultation will help Highways England develop its application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) planned for submission later this year.
The consultation will be a digital first consultation – meaning that from 14 July to 12 August all materials, including an online feedback form, will be accessible online at www.lowerthamescrossing.co.uk/design-consultation.
If you would like to order printed copies of the consultation materials you can do so by calling 0300 123 5000, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting https://highwaysengland.co.uk/lower-thames-crossing-design-consultation-materials and submitting your name and address. You can pre-order the consultation pack from today, so please do so that you get your consultation pack as they become available.
We as an action group will of course share as many details as possible as soon after we have reviewed the info that is released at 00:01 on July 14th as possible, so watch this space as they say!
Consulting during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions
With social distancing measures still in place, and in line with government guidance, HE have adopted a ‘digital first’ approach. They have said they will be putting additional measures in place to ensure members of the public can engage fully in the Design Refinement Consultation, including:
- Leaflets distributed to 135,000 properties within 2km of the route, giving residents advance notice of this consultation from today
- From today, people can register their interest in the consultation and pre-order hard copies of the consultation packs to arrive from consultation launch on 14 July
- Extensive media and social media campaigns to raise awareness about the consultation
During the consultation period – from 14 July to 12 August HE will provide:
- A telephone consultation and call-back service for people to find out more and give their feedback on the proposals
- An online public information exhibition – including videos, displays and a documents library
- Webinars to explain the key changes open to all members of the public
- An updated and newly interactive website
- Ongoing social media updates
How to have your say
Please only use the following official response channels. It cannot be guaranteed that responses sent to any other address will be included in analysis.
Online response form
Fill in the online survey at: www.lowerthamescrossing.co.uk/design-consultation
NB the survey will be available from 00:01 Tues 14th July – 23:59 Weds 12th August 2020
Post your response form or comments to: FREEPOST LTC CONSULTATION
(The Freepost address is the only text needed on the envelope, and no stamp is required.)
Email your comments to: LTC.CONSULTATION@TRAVERSE.LTD
Starting on 14th July you can book an appointment to speak to someone who can help you fill out a form over the phone, by calling 0300 123 5000 between 14th July and 12th August 2020.
Things to remember
Read and get as much info as possible.
Take part in the consultation – respond by 23:59 on Thurs 12th August.
Use any free comments boxes to share all your opinions and feedback. If you need more space use extra sheets of paper (just label them with the question number they respond to) This is your chance to give your opinions and feedback.
Do NOT copy and paste info from websites etc into your response. Info on our website is to help bring you the facts we have uncovered whilst wading through the consultation documents, so that you can consider your own opinions and responses. Please give personal individual responses. In 2016 13,000 consultation response were counted as 1 organised group response as they were pre-formed letters with space for personal comments. HE will do this again if they consider responses as organised group responses.
Remember that the consultation response form (paper copy and online) will likely be designed using cleverly worded questions to try and get the results they are looking for. Read all questions carefully and be sure to give the answer you want! You don’t even have to use their response form, you can send your response in your own words via email or letter if you prefer. But please remember if you do to comment on the points they are consulting us on, as well as anything else you wish to comment, and it has to be more than just we don’t want LTC, we need to give as much detailed reasoning as possible please.
Highways England have a legal obligation to consult us adequately with regard to LTC, with clear and informative materials. If you do not feel that this is/has been the case then please comment to that effect, and provide as much info as possible as to why you feel this way. if you experience any issues with the consultation packs or telephone sessions etc then please comment on that too. HE have to prove to the Planning Inspectorate that they have consulted adequately, and if we can prove that is not the case they may be forced to hold further consultation, slowing them down further, and ensuring that we have adequate opportunity to be consulted with clear and informative info that we need and deserve.
We will be creating a step by step to this consultation, just as we did in 2018 and 2020 to try and help guide you through the consultation, and as soon as it is available we will publish it on the website. In the meantime we would encourage you to please read all the updates and info we are publishing to the website and social media, use the HE/LTC phone session option or email them, ask lots of questions so that you have as much info as possible ready to send your consultation response.
Highways England DO NOT have permission yet!
They do NOT have permission yet! After the consultation Highways England will analyze the responses, and then put together their Development Consent Order (DCO) application which they currently plan to submit to the Planning Inspectorate later this year, which is already way over a year later than they orginally planned for.
If their application is accepted, you can then register as an Interested Party, to remain involved in the process. An examination period then begins that can last months if not longer. At the end of the examination the Secretary of State for Transport (currently Grant Shapps MP) decides whether to grant the DCO or not.
Once the decision is announced there is a six week period in which the decision may be challenged in the High Court. This process of legal challenge is known as Judicial Review. You can find out more about the whole process here.
Take part in the Lower Thames Crossing Design Refinement Consultation 2020
Please remember that anyone can take part in the consultation, including children (with parent/guardian permission). It is not limited to one response per household, everyone can and should take part! Organisations, businesses and campaign groups can also take part, so if you have one of those you can respond on behalf of that, as well as your own personal response.
As this is a Design Refinement Consultation Highways England will not be publicising the consultation to such a large area, as they did during the Statutory Consultation, but this doesn’t mean that people outside of the area can’t take part! So be sure to let all your friends and family etc know, the more responses the better!
Children who may not be in a position to submit a written response to the consultation can also draw a response if they prefer! Highways England have requested to help them with the analysis, it would be really helpful if an adult could include something in writing to accompany the picture, as it would help with understanding what the child wants to say about the proposals.
You can take part anonymously if you wish, HE just request that you provide your postcode so they can understand where you live in relation to the scheme.
As always please do all you can, within the COVID-19 guidelines, to safely help spread the word and take part in the consultation. Together we are stronger!