Sent on Thursday 19th March 2020 at 16:32
To: Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps MP, Highways England CEO, Jim O’Sullivan, Health Secretary, Matt Hancock MP*, email@example.com
CC: Stephen Metcalfe MP, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Julia Lopez MP, Adam Holloway MP, LTC Planning Inspectorate, Local Authorities – Thurrock, Gravesham, Havering
* Mr Hancock can only be contacted officially in his role as Health Secretary via an online form which limits characters to 3000, so we have sent a link to this page to ensure he is provided access to the email.
As yet to have received any kind of official reply to our emails dated March 16th, or the email sent earlier today. We also note that your social media accounts have now had your latest decision updated posted for way over an hour now, and we have had no official notification on this either.
We are emailing to express our frustration and disappointment that is appears you are still yet to make the right decision based on the current crisis of a world pandemic that we are living with and trying to deal with right now.
How are the general public supposed to learn about this week extension to the consultation? Not everyone is online. We certainly can’t be expected to help spread the word as we are all meant to be social distancing, and staying home, plus there is simply too much else going on right now.
How will people be able to view maps and plans etc? This cannot be done over the phone during your phone events. We would also question how people will be able to realistically get adequate answers to their questions over the phone knowing how difficult it has been to get answers in person at events, especially when you may need to talk to a number of staff who cover the many various aspects of the project?
Your comments on the latest update that states deposit locations and information points are still open, again should have been better researched, as we have checked ourselves shortly before your announcement and over 50% of those locations are or will be closed by tomorrow, with the potential that others will be closely following what appears to be common practice now for public locations around the country, and quite rightly closing down until further notice.
It also doesn’t in any way help reduce the additional stress to people having to worry about trying to respond to consultation amongst everything else that is going on, in what is after all a worldwide pandemic crisis. Your actions are having direct impacts on people’s health and well-being, are you not at all concerned by this? Do you not have a level of ethics, responsibility and a duty of care?
With the level of disruption, and scale of impact the current crisis is having on everyone, including organisations, do you really feel with something of this magnitude that extending by a week, whilst all these major issues continue and are likely to worsen, your response is satisfactory or adequate?
We listed the various reasons why people are quite rightly busy dealing with so many other matters at present, and why this consultation needs to be postponed until after this crisis has passed. Please do scroll down and re-read our previous emails if needs be.
We also note that you are already stating that there will be an additional round of consultation following on later in the year completely unrelated to the Coronavirus situation. Considering this consultation is still officially open, we also question how you can have already made that decision as you will not have had all the responses back yet to be able to fully assess and analyse the responses. Is this another indication that the current consultation was rushed, as we have previously commented, and was not actually really ready to be launched to the public, since you are already aware of the need to make further refinements?
Your lack of the sense of importance of dealing with this matter adequately and in a timely fashion says a lot about you as an organisation I’m afraid, and any confidence the public may have had in you and the LTC scheme is quickly vanishing into oblivion as each hour passes. Please have some common decency to do the right thing and announce immediately that the current consultation is being postponed and will be held at a later date when safe to do so after the current crisis situation has passed.
We would appreciate a response to this as a matter of urgency please.
Chair – Thames Crossing Action Group