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Crap DOCUMENT of the Week

Well, they finally coughed up. After two days of consistent hassling by activists at the Department for Transport earlier last month, during which one person got nicked, the DfT sheepishly released the previously top secret (read: problematic and embarrassing) documents revealing the truth about the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road.

The findings, courtesy of Combe Haven Defenders, were:

A) The DfT fudged the question of whether or not public money should be used to fund the project, noting that one 'emerging option' was to 'decline funding approval'. (The other 'emerging option' was to approve funding.)

B) That the DfT noted that 'possible, alternative road-based solutions ha[d] not been fully worked through and tested' at the time of the decision.

C) That the DfT assessed the BHLR as being of "low or medium value for money" - and was therefore not a project that the Department would normally consider funding.

D) That East Sussex County Council (ESCC) had "significantly overstate[d] the benefits of the scheme", "double count[ing] productivity improvements" and exaggerating the number of jobs that the project would create.

A spokesperson for Combe Haven Defenders says: "These documents show that, despite intense pressure from the Treasury, the DfT's own civil servants suggested that the Department should consider cancelling the project, and were highly critical of the exaggerated picture of the Road's merits put forward by East Sussex County Council. By forcing the DfT to give £57m of public money to fund this environmentally disastrous white-elephant project George Osborne has now lit the touchpaper for national peaceful resistance to the project."

* For more about the protest campaign and how they forced the release of these entirely accurate but awkward papers for a government hell-bent on building the road anyway, see Full Disclosure

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