Redacted! Did the DfT recommend against funding the Link Road?

January 9, 2013 by combehavendefenders

Redacted Government documents strongly suggest that the Dept for Transport recommended against funding the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road (BHLR).

The CHD urges public-spirited individuals at the Department for Transport to leak the original document, so that this envinronmentally disastrous white-elephant of a Road can still be halted – and Combe Haven valley saved – before it’s too late.

In his 2011 autumn statement, George Osborne announced funding for a number of transport projects; at the same time, he announced that there would be a three month review of the case for the BHLR before a decision was made on funding.  In the budget the following March, Osborne announced that £56m had been found for the road (it should be noted that Hastings MP Amber Rudd was subsequently promoted to Parliamentary Private Secretary to Osborne, and has suggested in private that she was instrumental in the successful funding bid.  Was her new position a reward for pressing the case of the Link Road?)

During that three-month period, transport minister Norman Baker asked the DfT for a report and recommendations on funding the road. After the funding was announced, the Hastings Alliance applied for a copy of the report, under the Freedom of Information Act.  When they received it, the section on ‘recommendations’ had been totally redacted (see documents here and here).  It is surely reasonable to draw the conclusion that the information was redacted because it recommended against funding.

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