We have had concerns, and heard concerns from residents, in regard to the Highways England Lower Thames Crossing public information/mobile events in relation to the Coronavirus for a while now.
We have been keeping an eye on all Government updates, as we realise HE being a Government company they will take directive from them in relation to this.
In light of the recent update that local elections will be postponed for a year due to the Coronavirus we have now emailed voicing our concerns, and asking for serious and immediate consideration as to whether the remaining LTC consultation public info/mobile events should be postponed until after the threat from Coronavirus has passed.
We have today emailed Transport Secretary – Grant Shapps MP, Health Secretary – Matt Hancock MP, HE CEO – Jim O’Sullivan, and the general firstname.lastname@example.org email address.
We cc’d in: The Planning Inspectorate, local MPs – Stephen Metcalfe, Jackie Doyle-Price, Adam Holloway, Julia Lopez, and local authorities – Thurrock, Gravesham, Havering.
This is what we sent on behalf of Thames Crossing Action Group:
I am emailing on behalf of the Thames Crossing Action Group, we represent thousands of people in the areas where the Lower Thames Crossing is being proposed. We would like to express our serious concerns about the current LTC Supplementary Consultation public info and mobile events in light of the current Coronavirus (COVID19). With recent news that local elections are being postponed for a year, we feel that public events like consultation events should also be postponed.
We would highlight that we keep being told by Highways England/LTC staff that the info events are for members of the public to attend to get answers to questions, especially when we question why certain info is either not available, nor not easy to understand in the consultation materials.
After those whose homes are directly impacted, we would say that the next highest level of concern is in regard to the impacts LTC would have on people’s health, especially in relation to air quality. The kind of people who currently suffer, or will be most susceptible to these kind of health impacts are those who are also most at risk with regard to the Coronavirus.
We would therefore ask for your serious and immediate consideration as to whether the remaining LTC public info events should be held, and also take into account the impact this will have already had on attendance to info/mobile events. Are we not all legally entitled to adequate consultation? We are aware that there are people who have purposely avoided attending info/mobile events due to serious concerns over Coronavirus, especially those who are deemed to be most at risk.
This request is in addition to the inadequacies of consultation that we have already identified with regard to the misleading out of date official LTC website, and also growing evidence of other aspects of inadequacies of consultation. We contact you at this time specifically as a matter of urgency with regard to the Coronavirus risk aspect of this consultation.
We would ask you to please consider not only cancelling/postponing the remaining events, but also to reschedule a complete re-run of the Supplementary Consultation once the Corona Virus threat has passed, so that everyone had the opportunity of adequate consultation without fear of risking their health, and in some instance potentially their lives, in light of the Coronavirus.
Thank you for your time and consideration, we hope to hear from you soon.”
We will of course share any responses and updates we get with you all as we receive them.
Please be aware that until such time as there is official advice to say otherwise the LTC public info/mobile events will continue as planned. If you do attend please follow government and NHS advice.
HE have issued us with the following information:
They are following government advice regarding Coronavirus and are taking the following steps:
- All fixed venues are cleaned as part of the usual hiring process.
- They have surface cleaning materials as part of our events kit, so that surfaces can be cleaned by their team.
- All fixed venues have washroom facilities and their team check those facilities to ensure they have adequate handwashing facilities throughout the day.
- They also have hand sanitiser available within the venues, in both public and staff areas.
- At their mobile information van, the van surfaces are cleaned before set up each day and they have hand sanitiser available for the public and staff.
- Staff are reminded to practice good hand hygiene as part of the daily event pre-briefings, at both types of events.
Please be aware that you can also contact the HE/LTC team with questions by phone 0300 123 5000 or email: email@example.com bearing in mind it can take upto 15 working days for a response for both email and phone calls.
Details of the remaining info/mobile events can be found at www.thamescrossingactiongroup.com/lower-thames-crossing-supplementary-consultation-events/.