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It appears that around 3,500 people have responded to Highways England’s third consultation. The Stonehenge Alliance say that to their “certain knowledge” 80% of the responses were outright objections. This is what that looks like:

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Highways England has said it isn’t looking for objections – just modifications to the scheme already decided upon after a first consultation. [Why??????]

That first consultation prompted a 77% objection rate whereas now the figure has risen to 80% and yet, true to form, Mr Parody of Highways England is claiming authority to go ahead:We will continue to develop the scheme, taking into consideration the views received from both the statutory and supplementary consultations.” Note, as usual, he doesn’t use the six letter word UNESCO, which is on the side of the 80%. 

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Coincidentally, George Monbiot has just said it all (about the Oxford-to-Cambridge Expressway):

“Where democracy counts most, it is nowhere to be seen. The decisions that shape the life of a nation are taken behind our backs. With occasional exceptions, public choice is reserved for trivia. The most consequential choices, as they are the longest lasting, arguably involve major infrastructure. The number of disasters in this field is remarkable. A classic paper by the economic geographer Bent Flyvbjerg, Survival of the Unfittest, explains that there is an innate tendency on the part of policymakers to choose the worst possible projects, as a result of the lock-in of fixed ideas at an early stage. This is caused, his evidence shows, not by accidental error or even delusional optimism, but by “strategic misrepresentation”. Advisers become advocates, and advocates become hucksters boosting their favoured projects.

Instead of asking “Do we need this scheme?”, the government agency Highways England, which is supposed to offer objective advice, opens its webpage with the heading “Why we need this scheme”. It claims, against the evidence, that the expressway will enhance the “attractiveness of the region” and “provide a healthy, natural environment, reducing congestion”. It is the kind of propaganda you would expect in a totalitarian state.”


 

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