If you though the environmentally destructive HS2 rail project was an expensive vanity project/white elephant at a cost of £307m per mile of track, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Highways England said, ‘hold my beer’ and came up with this: Lower Thames Crossing cost of £475.5 million per mile is slammed as ridiculous.
That’s a lot of money for a project that a) may not even fully resolve congestion issues at the Dartford River Crossing b) will like any new road project, generate extra traffic and exacerbate issues with congestion, noise and air pollution in the area and c) is flying in the face of the unavoidable fact that we live on a finite planet with finite resources. Yet all we’re allowed to do in the current round of Highways England ‘consultations’ is politely discuss with them the tweaks they’ve made to their plans.
The stupidly high cost per mile of this assault on our environment and health may, even at this late stage in the planning process, be a stick that can be used in the battle to scupper the Lower Thames Crossing. It’s certainly worth giving it a go but, we need to be realistic. After yesterday’s Dominic Cummings influenced cabinet re-shuffle, it looks as though we have an even more centralised and increasingly autocratic government. Which means if they want an infrastructure project to go ahead, regardless of how much opposition there is to it on environmental grounds, they’ll push on with it regardless because they can.
What’s the message to take away from this? Basically, we’re going to have to become more creative and daring in our opposition to infrastructure (and mineral extraction) projects that screw our environment and wreck our quality of life.