Today sees the publication of the first substantial and relatively un-evasive document the Public Inquiry (PI) has seen from the Highways Agency (HA) in a while. You can read it here (opens PDF).
To summarise it is not easy for one not overtly inclined to wade through jargon. But the upshot seems to be that having made a complete balls up the first time around, it's taking them so long now because they're so concerned to get it right this time. All of which will not be good news to this poor soul.
What's bizarre about this whole thing is that in the middle of the Public Inquiry, the Highways Agency are now essentially saying they are taking us back to a process they started nearly 3 years ago, before the PI began. In the document, they reveal that consultations will need to take place on the revisions to the Environmental Statement and that there will also need to be another series of Exhibitions!
But they save the best bit until last - all of this attention to detail (and care) means that the new information will not be presented to the PI until May 2009 - TWO YEARS since this whole thing started:
"Consequently, it is planned to submit the revised Environmental Statement, the Statement of Case, Economic Appraisal Report and Proofs of Evidence to the Inquiry in May 2009" (para 6.3)
We now believe that the PI must now be stopped, and forthwith. Since the whole basis for this PI is built on foundations of clay, and the HA want to re-consult the public on massive subsequent changes to their evidence, there is no need to continue with it - the evidence has moved on, and so must they. This Inquiry is redundant - it is a shotgun wedding to cover an embarrassingly illegitimate & imminent stillbirth that is the government's road policy.