Yet again, we’re obliged to write about the shitty attitude Highways England are displaying towards residents in Thurrock (and elsewhere) as they continue to try and impose the Lower Thames Crossing upon us. It looks as though we’ll have to keep on doing this until a) they scrap the project or b) we get shut down…
Firstly, Highways England have yet another CONsultation – this one is the: Lower Thames Crossing: Community Impacts Consultation 2021. It’s a hybrid mixture of in person events at various venues across the region plus an online option. Basically, it’s about inviting residents to ‘help’ them ‘refine’ their design proposals for the crossing. You know the form – a pre-prepared range of options are set out for you to pick the least worst one. As deeply cynical as we are about these ‘consultations’, we reckon people should participate and where possible attend the in person events to let Highways England know how you feel about the way they’re forcing this project through.
Obviously that doesn’t mean getting aggressive… It does mean asking Highways England some pointed questions to put them on the spot. It can also mean some humorous piss taking to bring these puffed up charlatans down to size:)
On the subject of the in person ‘consultation’ events, there isn’t one in Chadwell St. Mary. This is despite the proposed route of the approach road passing very close to the eastern edge of Chadwell St. Mary. Also, yet again, there are no in person events in Stanford-le-Hope, Corringham or Fobbing. Although they’re not as close to the proposed route as Chadwell-St-Mary, air pollution from increased traffic levels has a habit of drifting. This will be coming in on top of the pollution that’s being generated by road traffic travelling to and from the London Gateway superport at Stanford-le-Hope. Anyway, this is how the spread of in person ‘consultation’ events was covered by Thurrock Nub News: Anger over lack of consultation with Stanford, Corringham, Fobbing and Chadwell St Mary residents by Highways England as it continues to drive Lower Thames Crossing plan forward.
Highways England in a bid to show off their ‘green’ credentials have committed themselves to helping set up a new ‘forest’ in the already leafy heights of Great Warley near Brentwood. Presumably, this is part of the carbon offset agenda. This is what we wrote about this: Any chance of some tree planting actually taking place in Thurrock? Generally, any new woodland is welcome as it helps with biodiversity but as we wrote in this piece, it does sod all in terms of alleviating the direct impact of the Lower Thames Crossing on the residents of Thurrock.
Residents in Thurrock may, or may not, be that worried about issues such as carbon offsets. What they are rightly really worried about is the extra air pollution the crossing will bring to the area. They are also worried about the environmental and health impacts of the construction work which is likely to go on for five to six years. This is how these concerns and fears were covered by Thurrock Nub News: Highways England damned on crossing – “It’s not their children, it’s not their relatives parents and grandparents with underlying health conditions who will be affected. It’s not personal for them. It’s very personal for us.” The impression a lot of people are getting about the attitude of Highways England is that they regard the production of a Health Impact Assessment as little more than a box tobe ticked before they move on with shoving this crossing through regardless. Traffic pollution is already an issue because of the M25, the ports at Tilbury and London Gateway, plus numerous logistics depots scattered across the area. Residents are rightly worried about any development that will exacerbate the problem. Highways England are totally out of order in downplaying and dismissing those concerns.
Last but by no means least, there’s this: How very f**king convenient! Basically, a sand and gravel pit operator, Ingrebourne Valley Ltd. have struck a deal with Highways England worth £43.6 million to dispose of spoil from the construction of the Lower Thames Crossing approach road and tunnel. Ingrebourne Valley have an application under consideration for the operation of a massive super pit between Stanford-le-Hope and Linford. A sodding great hole that can conveniently be filled with construction spoil. Spoil that would have to be transported down country lanes on it’s journey to this hole. Transportation that would involve a lot of lorry movements along the aforementioned lanes. Lorry movements that would create a fair bit of pollution from vehicle fumes and the inevitable dust. All in all, an operation that would not just scar the environment but would also impact the health, physical and mental, of the residents in Linford and Stanford-le-Hope who are close to this proposed super pit.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways that Highways England are, and will be screwing us over for years to come. The least we can do is actively take part in this consultation and where possible, pay the in person events a visit to communicate your displeasure with them. Should any residents decide that things need to be taken up a level or two from this, they’ll have our solidarity and backing…