Road protesters to blow whistle on secret Link Road documents

March 8, 2013 by operationdisclosure

whistle

Press Information Note
Combe Haven Defenders [1]
8 March 2013

ROAD PROTESTERS TO BLOW WHISTLE ON SECRET LINK ROAD DOCUMENTS
“Operation Disclosure” builds as Green MP tables Parliamentary Question about redacted recommendations

8am, Monday 11 March, DfT Information Rights Unit, Hastings: Local opponents of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road (BHLR) will be blowing whistles and leafleting workers outside the Department for Transport (DfT)’s Information Rights Unit [2] next Monday, launching a call for DfT workers to “Blow the Whistle on the Link Road” by leaking the Department’s blacked-out recommendations about whether or not to fund the £100m project.

The event is part of “Operation Disclosure” [3], a month-long initiative of the Combe Haven Defenders [1] that aims to bring pressure on the Department to release the secret documents. If the DfT fails to comply by 5 April then local residents will attempt to enter the Department to peacefully search for, copy and distribute them themselves.

In late 2011 / early 2012 Undersecretary of State for Transport Norman Baker asked the DfT for its recommendations on funding the £100m Bexhill-Hastings Link Road (BHLR) [4] – the ‘first and the worst’ of over 190 new road projects across England and Wales [5].

The DfT concluded that East Sussex County Council had “significantly overstate[d] the benefits of the scheme” [6] but its recommendations are being withheld from the public [4], leading many to speculate that it may have recommended against funding the project, which has still not received final approval for the £56m of Government funding that it requires [7].

On Thursday 7 March Green MP Caroline Lucas tabled a Parliamentary Question calling for the unredacted documents to be published and placed in the House of Commons Library [8].

Emily Johns, a spokesperson for the “Operation Disclosure” inititative, said: “According to the Department for Transport, East Sussex County Council has “significantly overstate[d] the benefits” of the Link Road, “double-counting productivity improvements” and dramatically overstating the number of jobs that would be created [6]. However, the public is not allowed to see the Department’s recommendations about using public money to fund this environmentally-disastrous white-elephant project. We call on all those who work for the DfT to blow the whistle on the Link Road by emailing a copy of the unredacted documents to us via http://www.operationdisclosure.wordpress.com.”

[1] http://www.combehavendefenders.org.uk
[2] DfT Information Rights Unit, Ashdown House, Sedlescombe Road North, TN37 7GA
[3] http://www.operationdisclosure.wordpress.com
[4] https://combehavendefenders.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/redacted-did-the-dft-recommend-against-funding-the-link-road/
[5] https://combehavendefenders.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/stop-the-zombie-roads-hastings-halloween-action-on-30-october/
[6] See para. 6 of http://combehavendefenders.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/annex-2b-extracts-from-19-march-submission-to-dft-ministers.pdf
[7] http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/10204708.Roadworks_continue_despite_lack_of_funds/
[8] See Q.162 of  http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmordbk1/qbpart1.pdf

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