Consultation Manipulation

CONSULTATION MANIPULATION

The consultation was extended to 1.2 million people and organisations, including 950,000 Dart Charge customers.

A total of 47,034 responses were received:

Respondent Designation

Totals

Members of the public 33,224
“Campaigns”[1] 13,284
Petitions[2] 3
Organisations and groups 523
Total 47,034
  1. Campaigns

Highways England define a campaign response as “an identically worded response that has been received from a group of people”.  They have determined that a total of 13,284 of the responses they responses received constituted ‘organised campaigns’.

(Note that this included 946 responses from individuals who included some or all of the examples suggested for consideration by Shorne Parish Council, either with or without their own comments.)

Of the 13,284 responses, a total of 13,240 came from individuals opposed to Option C.

Only 44 came from organisations in favour of Option C.  39 of these were from small companies, and 5 came from a motorcycle action group.

Highways England states that these 13,284 responses are included in the overall number of responses received (47,034), but are NOT INCLUDED in the responses received from members of the public or organisations.  In fact they were totally ignored in their post-consultation analysis.

  1. Petitions

Highways England identifies 3 petitions received, all of which opposed Option C, which they say had a total of 188 signatures.  This included the Kent County Council petition, for which they have recorded 11 signatures.  This petition actually received 3,678 signatures.  In any event, Highways England states that all these petitions only counted as 3 responses in the overall number of responses received (47,034), and are NOT INCLUDED in the responses received from members of the public or organisations.

In section 5.7.1 of volume 3 of their post-consultation analysis report, Highways England states that a total of 32,872 members of the public answered their key question 5a about their proposal for a crossing at Location C.  They state that a total of 60% or 19,729 of those who responded to this question agreed with a crossing at Location C, compared with 36% who responded (11,998) who did not.

This result is only achieved by discounting the 13,240 individuals who opposed the crossing at Location C.  If these are included, the true response is that a total of 46,112 members of the public answered their key question 5a about their proposal for a crossing at Location C.  Just 43% or 19,729 of those who responded to this question agreed with a crossing at Location C, compared with 55% (25,238) who did not.

When he made his announcement on 12th April, the Secretary of State Chris Grayling stated that “This route was identified by the majority of nearly 47,000 respondents as the best solution for reducing traffic and congestion at the Dartford Crossing”.  Clearly this is not true.  The majority did NOT agree that it was the best solution.