LTC – Health impacts
We all have serious concerns about the health impacts of the proposed LTC, and rightly so. There would be a lot of negative health impacts.
The ludicrous thing with a project as huge and harmful as the proposed LTC is that there isn’t actually an obligation for HE to carry out a separate Health Impact Assessment. However, after Local Authorities sent a joint letter to HE it was agreed that they would provide a Health and Equalities Impact Assessment(HEqIA).
That said progress has been very slow over years since, and an independent review of the HEqIA by consultants STANTEC on behalf of Thurrock Council, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Medway Council, Gravesham Borough Council, Essex County Council, Havering Borough Council, Kent County Council, Dartford Borough Council and Brentwood Borough Council.
The report stated that “a number of concerns have been raised with the source documents” such as a transport assessment, and it was also unclear whether health impacts could be “mitigated against”.
It concluded that based on guidelines from the Wales Impact Assessment Support Unit, Highways England’s assessment
“does not fully meet the best practice requirements of the guidance”
To top things off, at the August LTC Task Force meeting HE admitted that whilst they would be monitoring air and noise throughout the construction period, if LTC goes ahead. Once construction was complete the air and noise monitors would be removed and the levels no longer monitored. Members of the LTC Task Force committee understandably had some serious words to say on this, as it is such a serious concern.
Physical health impacts
Long-term exposure to air pollution can cause chronic conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases as well as lung cancer, leading to reduced life expectancy. Air pollution has impacts on health conditions like COPD and Asthma.
And it’s not just the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution coming out of fossil fuel vehicles, because electric vehicles emit PM2.5. These are tiny particulates, from things like brake dust, tyre wear, road wear, that are so tiny they can actually get into the blood stream, and are extremely dangerous and harmful.
We know the whole proposed LTC route would fail against World Health Organization (WHO) standards for PM2.5, which is why we support and encourage those standards to be enshrined into UK law.
The proposed LTC would create a large toxic triangle, and would be harmful to all our lives and health. How many of the schools in our area would be impacted by the LTC through air and noise pollution? Our children deserve the right to grow up in as healthy an environment as possible, not for our Government to be allowing such harmful projects like LTC go ahead.
All too often HE are telling us about the jobs that the proposed LTC would create, both during construction and also ongoing by opening up opportunities to businesses to expand. But what good are those jobs if the people in the local communities are too ill with air pollution related illnesses to be able to work?
The economic benefits of LTC are often mentioned, but what of the economic cost to our lives and health, the environment etc? What of the cost for the health care that would be needed as a direct result of the proposed LTC if it goes ahead?
The same can be said for the impacts the LTC would have on people’s mental health and well-being.
Mental health and well-being impacts
Sadly, the toll of the proposed LTC is already taking it’s toll on some people’s mental health and well-being. The stress of dealing with such a hugely destructive and harmful road project like LTC takes it’s toll, especially for those whose homes and businesses have and are already being impacted.
These impacts to mental health and well-being for everyone are not going to get any better if the proposed LTC progresses.
Living with all the disruption, noise, vibration, pollution, stress, and everything else we would go through during the construction stage would be horrendous, especially with so much 24/7 work being proposed.
Living through the long and horrendous construction period will be tough on us all. For those with PTSD, dementia, autism and so many other things, it would be absolute hell for at least 6-7 years.
Even after construction is complete, if it goes ahead, living next to a huge busy new major road like LTC would have it’s issues and impacts on people’s mental health and well-being ongoing. The noise, congestion, pollution, and all the associated stresses.
The health or our planet
Now more than ever it is essential that we take note of the harm we are doing to the health of our planet. Climate Emergency is being declared all over the world, including our local areas. We have to remember that ultimately this is about ensuring survival for us all. The planet will likely bounce back after humans if it comes down to it, just as it did following on from dinosaurs. For us to be healthy and alive we need to take care of our planet so it can take care of us.
And let’s face it, for those who may not believe in climate change, how bad would it be ultimately if those declaring climate emergency are wrong and we’ve ended up creating a healthier planet for us all. Isn’t that better than those denying climate change getting it wrong, and we end up with a huge catastrophic extinction?
Those already suffering with health and well-being impacts due to the Dartford Crossing, would still be suffering too. Remember, the current crossing would still be over capacity even if LTC goes ahead, and the LTC would not solve any of the problems we all suffer with due to the Dartford Crossing. The proposed LTC would not improve the health and well-being impacts for any of us. We all deserve better.
Our air would be polluted, we’d be dealing with the stresses of noise pollution. Leisure and exercise options would be negatively impacted with the loss and impacts to facilities, footpaths, cycle routes etc. Plus to be healthy we need good quality health foods, yet the LTC would destroy acres of agricultural land.
All in all the impacts the LTC would have on our health and well being, and the health of our planet is totally unacceptable, and just one of the many very valid reasons we continue to fight against the LTC.
LTC health impact videos
Over the years we have had some amazing and inspiring speeches from Ian Wake when he was Director of Public Health at Thurrock Council.
This first video is him speaking at the LTC Protest event in Grays in 2016.
And the video of Ian Wake speaking at the 2016 LTC event at Tilbury Cruise Terminal (hosted by James Whale), that George references in the LTC protest event in Grays (above)
Whilst these videos are of events a few years ago, nothing has changed, the concerns and risk to health if the proposed LTC goes ahead are still very serious and very real.
HEqIA Review Update from LTC Task Force (July 2021) – click here
Thurrock Gazette – Health impact of Lower Thames Crossing may not have been adequately assessed – report reveals (July 2021) – click here
Noise pollution – click here
Toxic Triangle – click here