London Motorway Inquiry - Inspector resigns after protests


At the Thames Gateway Bridge pre-Inquiry meeting on Monday 4th April, the meeting ended in chaos, as the Inspectors walked out after uproar from local residents, a protester seized the Inspector's microphone, and was chased around their table by an official. This was a taster for the controversy that is sure to follow if they attempt to bulldoze a motorway through East London. Today, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister announced that the Inspector will be 'replaced'. This motorway is very similar to the Oxleas Wood scheme which was defeated in 1993, hot on the heels of the Twyford Down direct action campaign.

At the pre-Inquiry meeting the Inspector refused Objector's proposals that the Inquiry (due to start 7th June) should be postponed due to the shambolic way the Inquiry has been arranged so far. Road Block warns that more of this type of protest is likely, as more road schemes are planned, and there is growing anger that the Government have gone back on promises to reduce traffic and stop roadbuilding.

Inspector's listened to representations for over 2 hours from resident's groups, Bexley Council's barrister, environment and transport groups, and local Liberal Democrat and Conservative Parliamentary Candidates that the consultation for the scheme has been appalling and shambolic. The Inspector had also been provided with an out-of-date Statement of Case by Transport for London, and seemed to be unclear about the rules.

Objector's to the road scheme expressed concerns that many resident's groups opposed to the motorway had not even been informed or consulted about the Inquiry, and that most local people are not even aware that a motorway is coming their way. They were also concerned that the Inquiry is being fast-tracked, and Objector's are not being given enough time to prepare their case.

Despite being legally entitled to request a postponement from the Secretary of State, and the overwhelming case for it, he made a ruling that the inquiry would proceed as planned. The two Inspectors walked out without finishing most of the agenda. Today it was announced that the new Inspector would hold a new pre-inquiry meeting. So more protests will no doubt follow.

Many local residents groups are against the motorway, which will go from Beckton, north of the Thames, to Thamesmead, south of the River. It'll mean an estimated 20 million vehicle movements a year, past people's homes. Although presented as a 'local bridge' by Transport for London, local residents know that this is actually motorway coming their way. Ken Livingstone is the principle cheerleader for the motorway, despite saying before being elected that they would have to 'bury me in the first block of concrete' if it were built.

One of the main groups against the motorway is Action Group Against the Bridge (AGAB) and they have a website:

Get in touch if you want to oppose this motorway. This is massive ignorance about this scheme in London - just how Transport for London would like it to remain!