Monday, July 30, 2007
One of those ultra-rare events occurred last week. A Public Inquiry recommended that the massive Thames Gateway Bridge road scheme through London should not go ahead.
Transport for London had clearly been very cocksure about the result, as we had reported back in May, because they had already started putting tenders out shortly after the PI had wound up. But the Inspector has now come back and given them a surprise by agreeing with objectors, and also pointing out that the increases in C02 emissions the scheme would entail were contrary to government policy.
What' s more interesting for us is that the Assistant Inspector was our very own John Watson.
But before anyone breaks out the champagne, the government have ignored the Inspector's decision, and ordered a new Inquiry. Unlike the Inspector's decision, this is entirely predictable.
This 'rebellion' on behalf of the Inspector could be the establishment's response to the government's Planning White Paper, which seeks to remove 'obstacles' to the Planning Process.
Either way, it's clear the government's use of the Planning Process is clearly a fig leaf to cover the nakedness of it's ambition to carve up our environment. If the White Paper goes through the fig leaf will be removed.