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21/09/2017 ---FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE---


South Gloucestershire Green Party today called for the group lobbying for the new 18A motorway junction to come clean and tell the public who they are.

The group, Gateway2Growth, has been lobbying MPs and Councillors for years, but has no listed members and won’t reveal who funds it. Greens spokesperson Richard Burton said, “It cannot be democratic for a secret group to seek to influence decisions which affect the whole of the community. Whatever special interests this group represents should be openly declared, not hidden behind a faceless lobby group and web page.”

The only person listed on the group’s webpage is James Turgoose, a lobbyist working for a company called JSP, which describes itself on its website as “a politically, business and community-led (sic) communications and engagement consultancy.” When asked who the members of Gateway2Growth were, Mr Turgoose replied that it wasn’t a membership organisation, but has not responded to a request about who funds it.

Mr Burton continued, “If this group was genuinely interested in the community why would it have hired a lobby group to campaign for this junction and hidden behind it, instead of coming out into the open? It seems likely that it is the people who will make millions from this new junction, the developers or road builders perhaps. What chance does democracy and the views of residents have when our MPs and councillors have been influenced by a secret group, lobbying for this junction to make money out of it?”

The website of Gateway2Growth lists the views of three MPs, two Councillors and a few business people, all of whom enthusiastically praise this proposal. South Glos Green Party called on Gateway2Growth to reveal its membership and funding, and for the MPs and councillors who have expressed their support to consult openly with residents on their concerns over this new junction.

Mr Burton, who led the enquiries, said, “We want democracy, not some hole and corner secret organisation hoodwinking our elected representatives, and we want the facts, not the golden vision put forward by those who will make millions from this scheme.”



South Glos Greens Condemn "Farce" consultation

Current “consultation” about proposed new junction is a sham, say Greens.

The consultation survey released by South Gloucestershire Council assumes the necessity for the junction – with the question being between the controversial Pucklechurch or Lyde Green options and only once does it mention the possibility of no junction at all. Greens join those sceptical that the Pucklechurch option is a serious proposal, and is only there to give the illusion of choice.

Chairperson Richard Burton said, “This whole process is a farce – the decisions have already been taken and the consultation fails to ask whether it should even be constructed. This is deliberately misleading the public and is typical of South Glos consultations, which seem only to happen after things have been decided. It’s time the council took its responsibilities to its constituents seriously and stopped using the bankrupt thinking of the last century to solve today’s problems.”

The Joint Transport Study for the West of England, the sole justification for the project, is yet to be published – begging the question of why tax payers are being stampeded into spending a £100m on something for which there is no justification. It has long been established that new roads fail to cure congestion, creating more demand and leading to more traffic and thus more congestion. A study into the junction by the Greater Bristol Strategic Transport Study (GBSTS) found that it would temporarily improve journey times for people travelling through the area from outside, but would increase congestion on other parts of the network. The GBSTS study did not support this junction because of the sustainability implications.

South Glos Council itself has a number of policies which relate to the proposal, including transport, pollution, congestion, health, sustainability and environment. None of these support the construction of this junction, and there don’t appear to be any policies that do.

Mr Burton continued, “We would love to see the council to spend £500,000 on a study into alternative modes of transport – active travel and public transport, and for that study to look at the benefits of spending £100m on providing for them. The results would be massively better than spending that money on building this junction and creating more congestion.”