Whilst we work on bringing you more updates about the latest consultation, we thought that it may be helpful if we brought you TCAG’s initial reactions to the new LTC Community Impacts Consultation, which launched at a minute past midnight on Weds 14th July 2021.
As those who have already listened into the tv and radio interviews we did on consultation launch day will know we sat up through the night to review the new consultation website and materials as soon as we could, so we were ready to speak to the media on the 14th!
If you missed those interviews and/or want to watch and listen again you can find them here.
As you will hear us say in those interviews, our first impressions of the new consultation are definitely not good. Sadly it seems to be a pattern that every consultation seems to get worse.
We’ve already commented on the fact HE will not have printed consultation materials available until at least 1 week into the consultation, and also the questionable locations and timings for the public events – read more here.
Since the consultation website launched, we have noticed that HE seem to be using quite a bit of more technical terminology in the consultation materials. We get the impression that they have very likely been copying and pasting the details directly out of the Development Consent Order (DCO) documentation, which will likely be far more technical. HE have an obligation to provide clear and informative consultation materials, and from what we have seen that is certainly not the case in this consultation.
The way the info is presented on their website is confusing and frustrating, as well as often misleading and contradictory. In our opinion there’s lots of greenwashing in there too.
On the front page of the consultation website they highlight various questionable points, such as “Air Quality improved across the region”. Yet when you actually study the detail deep enough into the consultation materials, you discover plenty of areas throughout the region where air quality would be worse if LTC goes ahead.
Funnily enough (although obviously not at all funny in reality) they don’t seem that keen to make it obvious that they are now proposing 24/7 construction hours in a lot more areas. You have to dig deeper into the consultation materials to discover that. We will bring you more on this as soon as we can.
We have had people asking us for help in locating the new maps on the HE website as they had been struggling to find them. Even when they have been found we are hearing how glitchy and awful they are at loading online when you try to zoom in and move around to have a good look.
On launch night we noticed an issue when you zoomed in to the interactive map to the maximum zoom setting whereby the development boundary line just disappeared on the largest magnification.
The keys (legends) in the fly through videos are too small to be able to really read and use to identify what it all means.
The keys (legends) on the interactive map are confusing with the same colours being used but for different things. For example, what would you think the orange colour in the map below represents? (You can click the map to make it larger)
Could the colour represent Miscellaneous Storage, Main Works Compound, or Utilities Access Route? We believe it is likely to be Utilities Access Route, but we can understand the confusion, and we will be double checking with HE too.
And the image above was captured on a laptop screen, imagine if you were viewing on a smaller screen like a phone. Not the most user friendly map/legend.
People are already starting to expose spelling mistakes within the documents, including Stanford Road, being referred to as Stamford Road on numerous occasions in both text and on some maps, such as in the map we’ve screen captured below. (Click the image to enlarge)
Some of the ward summary links also appear to have been updated on the HE website after some pages seemed to fail to load from the links that were originally listed.
One of the changes in this consultation relates to the widening of the slip roads between the LTC and the A13 and Orsett Cock. This point was covered in the update HE gave in the July Task Force meeting. This is the map HE showed us then, and is also in the consultation materials (Operations Update – page 70/206) (Click image to enlarge)
We’ll be bringing you an update on this in a bit to explain it all in more detail.
But as far as the info provided about the additional lane in the Operations Update, HE readily admit
“We are currently working to include this revised link in our updated application materials, and therefore this widening of the proposed road is not currently represented in the relevant map books, visualisations or the route flythrough, although we have indicated the location of this change within those documents.”
However, if you take a look at that area on the interactive map the text box description they’ve added to the map points to the wrong location (see the screen capture below). If you check on the Map Books the text box description is so tiny you wouldn’t even notice it unless like us you knew to look for it and hunted it down.
The slip road they have labelled is actually the A13 westbound onto the LTC northbound slip road, not the LTC to A13 eastbound and Orsett Cock.
So not only could they clearly not be bothered to provide us with up to date maps, they couldn’t even be bothered to label the omission to the correct location on the out of date maps.
These are just some of the highlights of our initial reactions. It is also worth pointing out that nothing has changed with regard to the fact that the Dartford Crossing would still be over capacity, even if the LTC goes ahead. There would still not be adequate connections for traffic to migrate between the two crossings when there are incidents, if LTC goes ahead. It would still emit over 5 million tonnes of carbon emissions, be hugely destructive, and the construction period would be horrendous if it goes ahead.
On the whole as well as our own initial reactions, the main thing we are hearing from people is just how bad this consultation is on so many levels. Share your initial reactions with us on our social media channels or drop us an email if you like!
We will continue to review the consultation materials and we will most definitely be asking HE lots of questions and hoping we will get some answers (you never know!), and bring you more updates as soon as we can. We have lots more to tell you already, but if we keep holding off publishing an initial reaction until we’ve had a chance to add everything we’ve uncovered already then it would take even longer to get something published!
The deeper you dig into consultation materials the more you find out. The more you find out the worse it gets I’m afraid. So here’s this update for now, with more to follow soon!