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Subject: SchNEWS 493, Friday 16th April 2005
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2005 04:28:44 +0100

Thames Gateway Bridge - pre-enquiry disrupted after inspectors walk out


Plans to build a six lane motorway across the Thames were disrupted last week as the pre-inquiry meeting ended in uproar when the inspectors walked out. Objectors had asked for the inquiry into the Thames Gateway Bridge to be postponed as they had not been given enough time to make the case against the fume producing, racket making motorway that will go through residential areas in south east London.

When the inspector, Robert Barker, an (oh-so-impartial) ex-engineer for one of the engineering firms who are bidding for the road contract, announced that the public inquiry would not be postponed, there were cries of protest from angry local residents and pressure groups. One protestor grabbed the microphone and shouted "This whole thing is a scandal. This bridge is being railroaded through. You are not listening to people" and was then chased around the table. The inspectors walked out of the meeting, leaving it in chaos. The Head Inspector has now resigned.

The Thames Gateway bridge is part of New Labour's massive and controversial road building scheme, set rolling by last year's "Future of Transport" White Paper (the 10 year plan for transport). It is being sold as a 'local bridge', but will in fact be a massive polluting motorway whose tolls will keep local people, in a mainly deprived area, from crossing whilst pumping clouds of smog into their environment and blasting the mainly residential area with noise. Ken Livingstone originally said that you could "bury me in a block of concrete" before he let this road be built, but now his Transport for London supports it. As for the noise, TfL say people will "get used to it" - i.e. stop complaining and shut up. The new road will generate approx 20 million vehicles a year that could end up rat-running through the local area, and cause more traffic accidents. The surrounding area of Bexley already has the highest childhood asthma rates of any London borough. The Thames Gateway Bridge is the same motorway as the Oxleas Wood scheme which was famously defeated in 1993 - hot on the heels of the Twyford Down direct action campaign and the massive anti roads protest movement of the nineties.

Action Group Against the Bridge -

Road Block - -tel: 01803 847649

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