The M3/A34 capacity increase has been approved despite its very poor economic performance.  Anyone aware of fast-track infrastructure inquiries will not be surprised; no deep investigation of a project is allowed; no objector can cross-examine evidence and access to the most important data is withheld.  Even so, the Inspectors’ report, while scrupulously recording objectors’ views, was especially shallow and unfair, addressing none of the arguments or evidence with any counter-arguments or counter-evidence. The Inspectors seem merely concerned that the procedures (defined by National Highways) had been followed, rather than examining the merits of the scheme.

The most startling revelation of the Inquiry was that National Highways were unable to find any documentary evidence to back their assertion that non-road alternatives to meeting the scheme objectives “would have been considered”.  Nobody at any level of government does planning across transport modes.

More shocking was that the Minister, knowing that the High Court had recently judged that the Government’s reliance on its Carbon Budget Delivery Plan was “irrational”; simply stated he stood by it and its absurd claim that the massive carbon emissions of the road programme remain consistent with the Net Zero imperative.

Steve Brine (who never attended the inquiry and knows nothing of the evidence), of course, welcomed the decision.  The same man who brought his friend Alok Sharma to Winchester and lectured us on the importance of Net Zero.  Brine is leaving the sinking ship soon; we have yet to see if his preferred successor, Flick Drummond, has the same capacity for equivocation.  Her environmental voting record suggests that she does.

Chris Gillham,

Upper High Street,


Send letters by email to or by post to Editor, Hampshire Chronicle, 5 Upper Brook Street, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8AL.
All letters and e-mails must include full names and addresses (anonymous letters will not be published), although these details might be withheld from publication, on request, if the reason justifies it. Letters with real names have much greater credibility.
Letters of 300 words or less will be given priority, although all are subject to editing for reasons of clarity, space, or legal requirements. We reserve the right to edit letters.
Letters on local issues are preferred and we do not print ‘round robins’.