This is a piece we wrote fairly recently on flawed and contradictory planning decisions: Set up to fail 24.10.22. This is the preamble we had at the start of this piece:

This post is an attempt at pulling together a number of threads to work out why the rhetoric we’re bombarded with about adjusting our lifestyles to cut down the amount of CO2 we generate contrasts starkly with a reality that actually forces us to emit more. Regardless of where you may be on the issue of CO2 emissions and climate change, this piece will hopefully prompt you into considering how we have a planning system that fails to be future proofed and is incapable of anything remotely resembling joined up thinking. This is because too many planning decisions assume near universal car ownership continuing into the future and do not allow for the developments of any meaningful and fair for all alternatives to a vehicle based society and economy.

Although two of us behind this blog have relocated from Thurrock down to Keynsham in Somerset, we still keep an eye on what’s happening back in Essex. One issue we keep a particularly close eye on is the deeply flawed Lower Thames Crossing scheme. Something we wrote about at length in various guises before relocating. Something that other people have also written about at length. This detailed piece from Laura Blake outlines some crucial arguments against the crossing:

Lower Thames Crossing is hugely destructive and not fit for purpose

Laura Blake dismantles National Highways’ case for the proposed Lower Thames Crossing. The scheme would fail to meet every one of its objectives, be it on economic benefits, resilience, safety, congestion or the environment, she argues

The original task of a new crossing between Kent and Essex was to fix the congestion and pollution problems at the Dartford Crossing. It has since morphed into being about economic growth, and new connections between ports in the South East to the Midlands and beyond.

The proposed Lower Thames Crossing has seven scheme objectives, all of which it would fail to meet.

It would not “relieve the congested Dartford Crossing and approach roads, and improve their performance by providing free flowing, north-south capacity”. The Dartford Crossing has a design capacity of 135,000 vehicles per day, yet regularly sees 180,000.

That means we’d need to see a reduction of more than 25% to bring it back below capacity. Yet the proposed LTC would take as little as 4% away. It is also predicted there would be around a 50% increase in cross river traffic if LTC goes ahead.

You can read the rest of this piece here

If, and it is a very big if, the proposed Lower Thames Crossing is axed because it simply isn’t fit for purpose, then it may provide a glimmer of hope for a frank and overdue discussion on how to develop a properly joined up, holistic planning and transport strategy. One that is future proofed but also, one that the majority of people want to buy into because they can see it makes sense. Here are a couple of pieces where we’ve made a start on thinking through what this could look like: 15 minute cities / neighbourhoods – a good or a bad idea? 27.3.22 and this: Connectivity vs convenience 16.4.22.