The Highways Agency have taken all of the 7 days John Watson gave them this time last week to to respond to the questions he posed to them last week. Below are the questions posed by Watson (bold), and the answers provided by the HA (italics):
Does the Highways Agency still intend to submit revised evidence to the Inquiry?
It is still the Highways Agency’s current intention to submit revised evidence to the Inquiry.
If the Highways Agency still intends to submit revised evidence to the Inquiry, when does it intend to do so?
Our current developing programme still indicates that revised evidence will be
available in October 2008.
The Highways Agency have ignored the pre-amble to Watson's original questions which are the most revealing thing here, to wit:
(In March 2008) ... it was the Highways Agency's intention to submit revised evidence to the Inquiry, to produce revised traffic forecast for the Bypass and the Spur by the end of May 2008 and to make available at the end of May 2008 a firm programme for the submission of revised evidence to the Inquiry...
But why should they respond to this? After all, it is Watson's fault for not making this part of his question. To the less than casual observer, it is quite clear from the Highways Agency's answer that the timetable has slipped massively - again. Whereas in March they undertook to produce traffic forecasts and have a timetable for the submission of revised evidence by May, their answers today show that they now will only commit to submitting revised evidence by October 2008. In the meantime, we have to assume John Watson won't have to remind them again and live without a timetable.
As far as we're concerned, we're now changing tack - we've been easy on Watson up until now, but it is time for him to go. It's for his own good - this charade is surely holding back his career - and his professional integrity looks a bit suspect too. After all, the Highways Agency are blatantly 'driving' this Inquiry in a most flagrant manner.
It's no good - he has to go.