They quote one example where the opinions of 946 Shorne residents opposed to the crossing have been lumped together and counted as a single organisation because they used similar wording in their consultation responses.
Bob Lane, Chairman of LTCA, says that this means that the opinion of 946 Shorne residents bitterly opposed to the scheme have been discounted and given the same weight as just one individual or organisation in favour of the scheme.
“And it’s not just in Shorne”, said Bob. “Ipsos MORI and Highways England have discounted the opinions of over 13,000 people across north Kent and south Essex who opposed the scheme, and lumped them together into just 14 ‘organisations’. It is scandalous that the opinions of over 13,000 people whose lives will be devastated by the crossing can be cancelled out by just 14 individuals in favour of the scheme.”
The letter also points out that the number of people who signed petitions against the crossing has been grossly under-stated in the consultation report.
“In March last year, I presented a petition with 3,678 signatures to the KCC Environment & Transport Cabinet Committee,” said Bob, “but the report says that it had only 11 signatures.”
The letter also draws attention to another petition which obtained 2,778 signatures but which is reported to have obtained only 37 signatures, and a petition in Thurrock which obtained over 31,000 signatures but has been completely missed out from the report.
“All in all, there were over 38,000 signatures against the proposals,” said Bob, “and yet the report has only included 188 signatures. How can the Government be expected to make an informed decision when the information it is given is so badly flawed?”
The letter calls on the Secretary of State to instigate a full investigation into findings of the report.