For most it will come as no surprise that we are far from impressed by the claims that are made in the report, nor that we consider it to be yet more propaganda and greenwash.
Following on from a Foreword by LTC Exec Director, Matt Palmer, which contains all the usual blurb and propaganda, the report is split into seven different chapters.
National Highways claim that, “The Lower Thames Crossing is being designed, and delivered, in a way that balances the needs of everyone who will use or benefit from the road with the need to protect and enhance our natural environment and our communities.”, and that “This approach ensures that the new road is designed and delivered in a way that aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
So what are the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals?
There are 17 interconnected goals that form the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals, we’ve highlighted the ones NH consider the LTC aligns with in bold below.
- No poverty
- Zero hunger
- Good health and well-being
- Quality education
- Gender equality
- Clean water and sanitation
- Affordable and clean energy
- Decent work and economic growth
- Industry, innovation and infrastructure
- Reduced inequalities
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Responsible consumption and production
- Climate action
- Life below water
- Life on land
- Peace, justice and strong institutions
The report chapters
Enhancing the environment
In this chapter NH/LTC talk about minimising environmental impacts, green bridges, new ‘parks’, Hole Farm Community Woodland. There is no escaping the fact that the proposed LTC would be hugely destructive and harmful, if it goes ahead, ‘green’ bridges would not be adequate and would even result in wildlife being directed to busy junctions, the ‘parks’ would just be dumping grounds for spoil from the tunnels, and don’t even get us started on the propaganda and greenwashing of the project in regard to Hole Farm Community Woodland.
They go on to talk about community funding and case studies, many of which refer to charities and organisations that have voiced opposition and serious concerns about the proposed LTC. Not to mention the LTC Community Fund just being a rebranding of NH central Designated Funds that are available to communities along the existing strategic road network so accessible to most areas that would be impacted by the LTC regardless of the LTC going ahead or not.
More nonsense about active travel, despite the fact that there would be no provision for cross river active travel, and that many of the ‘new’ walking, cycling and horse riding routes are actually existing routes that would need to be realigned due to the LTC. Nor does it disclose that many of the paths offer no actual connectivity, see the zig zag, spiral, and paths running parallel to other paths for example.
Reducing our carbon footprint
Laughable if it weren’t so serious, when the proposed LTC is estimated to emit 6.6 million tonnes of carbon, if it goes ahead. In this chapter there are claims about governments transport decarbonisation plans and forecasts, despite the fact the Transport Select Committee’s Strategic Road Investment Inquiry Report saying there is a risk that those targets/forecasts will not be met quickly enough.
All the usual propaganda about carbon reduction, yet still a whopping 6.6 million tonnes of carbon emissions estimated.
Investing in communities
How could anyone believe that “The new crossing will have a positive impact on people’s lives and wellbeing along the route”? It would be hugely destructive and harmful, destroying homes, lives, health and well-being, the natural environment, businesses, communities and so much more.
Again more references to community funding, which as already mentioned is from a central designated fund that is open for people in most LTC impacted areas to apply for regardless of whether the LTC goes ahead or not, and again just because people and organisations have taken advantage of funding doesn’t mean they support the proposed LTC, as some have clearly voiced opposition. Just further examples of NH trying to make a highly controversial project that would have a significant adverse impact on local communities look better than it would in reality, if it goes ahead.
Supporting local skills, education and employment
“More than 45% of our workforce to be made up of local people”…. really?! Does anyone believe there will be enough people locally that will be trained in the right skills, looking for and/or wanting to work on such a destructive project. A ‘goal’ doesn’t mean to say it will happen, not that it would even be possible. Unemployment in Thurrock for instance is relatively low. And where will all these workers come from and live during construction? What impact will that have on local communities and housing?
At a time of climate emergency, and with the likes of the Transport Select Committee and Climate Change Committee calling for urgent reconsideration and reviews of large road building projects, is there really a future for apprentices in the road building industry? You do have to ask yourself who would want to work on a project that would have such a negative impact on the environment and our communities.
Listening to our customers and stakeholders
Who reading this feels that NH/LTC have listened to you during the consultation process for the proposed LTC?! NH making statements about extensive consultation doesn’t mean it was adequate or that they listened, just that they created consultation fatigue.
It’s quite apparent listening to the LTC DCO examination hearings that others, including large companies like the ports, and the host local authorities don’t feel that consultation or communications have been meaningful or adequate either. So much information withheld until the DCO was resubmitted, and even then there are still aspects that the Examiners are having to push for.
Creating a resilient, local supply chain
“Putting local businesses first is at the centre of our strategy to build a diverse and resilient supply chain.”. Hmm so Balfour Beatty and Skanska are local businesses are they?! And what about the local business that have been and/or would be impacted and lost because of the proposed LTC? What about the loss of agricultural land that would result in negative impacts to our local farmers and local food supply and food security?
Building an inclusive culture
Surely this is something that should automatically happen, not something we’re meant to fanfare and praise as something special? A case study of Pilgrims Lane, the LTC compound that NH/LTC failed to get planning permission for prior to starting works, and took three retrospective planning applications to eventually get permission for, hardly doing the right thing was it!?
Seems to us that the LTC Sustainability Report is much as we’d expect now from NH/LTC, just more propaganda and greenwashing to try and make a hugely destructive and harmful project look better than it would be in reality, if it goes ahead. There is no way such a project can be considered sustainable, and there is definitely nothing green about it. Claims it would be the ‘greenest road every built in the UK’ just go to show how low that bar must be. We’re not buying it NH, not at all.
LTC greenwashing – click here