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Roads to Nowhere

Campaigners countrywide gear up to fight new roads

Sian Berry's picture

31 May: With road plans proliferating, new groups are springing up to oppose them while established campaigns are keeping up the pressure.

All but one of the 20 roads in the recent Department for Transport pool of 'major schemes' have now been given the go-ahead for funding, and the Treasury also awarded new money to several others in its Autumn Statement and Budget. So campaigners across the country now have their work cut out to stop a deluge of damaging new roads being built.

Some of the most recent news from communities and campaigns that are fighting the worst new bypasses, 'link roads' and 'distributor routes' across the country is outlined below.

Please join and help these campaigns if you live near any of these destructive proposals. And if a new road is planned for your area and you have a campaign against it, please get in touch!

A556 Knutsford to Bowden

This Wednesday, the A556 Lobby Group held a presentation at the Cottons Hotel in Knutsford to present their alternative proposals for a much smaller change to the road network in their area which avoids putting a new road through several miles of countryside. Produced by professional consultants, the proposal argues that improving junction 20 of the M6 would keep the motorway traffic on the motorway network, cost a fraction of the cost of building a bypass and would not result in the destruction of ponds, woods and greenbelt that the road plans would cause.

More about this road: http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/campaigns/roads-to-nowhere/map-text#A556Knutsford

Campaign website: A556 Lobby Group

Manchester Airport Link (A555, M56 to A6)

Despite being given funding, the route of this road has not yet been proposed in detail, and plans are currently in a ‘pre-application consultation’ phase before being submitted for planning approval.

A new campaign group Poynton Against Unnecessary Link Roads to the Airport (PAULA) has been set up to represent residents in Poynton, Bramhall and Hazel Grove, and the group has held several local meetings already. Local and regional campaigns Stockport Friends of the Earth and North West Transport Roundtable are also opposed to the plans.

Stockport Friends of the Earth's 'Jubeelee walk' this weekend will take in some of the countryside to be destroyed by the link road: http://www.stockportfoe.co.uk/events/index.html

More about this road: http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/campaigns/roads-to-nowhere/map-text#ManchesterAirport

Campaign websites:
North West Transport Roundtable (NW TAR)
Stockport Friends of the Earth
Poynton Against Unnecessary Link roads to the Airport (PAULA)

Bexhill-Hastings Link Road

Campaign group the Hastings Alliance is currently considering legal action to challenge the appalling decision by the Department for Transport to fund this road across one of the most tranquil valleys in southern England (in March we joined Campaign to Protect Rural England, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and local campaigners in calling this” the most environmentally harmful and least economically justifiable road scheme currently being proposed in England” – read our letter here).

Meanwhile, campaigners are planning a big ‘rally in the valley’ this summer and need everyone who agrees  that this road should be stopped to join them: Come to Combe Haven before it’s too late.

More about this road: http://bettertransport.org.uk/campaigns/roads-to-nowhere/local-schemes/bexhill-hastings

Campaign website: Hastings Alliance

Heysham-M6 Link Road

This £123 million road proposal in Lancashire is currently being considered by the Planning Inspectorate in an examination process expected to last until September.

The objections being lodged by local people, as well as local, regional and national campaigners, cover a wide range of problems (read them here), and a large amount of evidence against the plans has been submitted for the examiner to consider. Hearings to look in more detail at some of these issues, including air pollution, noise, alternatives and traffic flows, will be held in July.

Read our joint submission with the North West Transport Roundtable here, which covers alternatives and traffic forecasts: Written submission document (pdf)

More about this road: http://bettertransport.org.uk/campaigns/roads-to-nowhere/local-schemes/heysham-m6

Campaign website: Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe

Norwich Northern Distributor Route (NNDR)

This huge road project around the north of Norwich is a complicated proposal and there are several things happening at once right now:

1) The Council’s Joint Core Strategy’ planning document, which placed housing along the route of the new ring road in the North East of the city, was successfully challenged by campaign group SNUB (Stop Norwich Urbanisation) earlier this year. The council will now need to revise its plans and reconsider the location of 10,000 of the new homes it had planned for the area.

2) The Postwick Hub, a roundabout complex that is part of the NNDR project but being treated as separate by the council, is currently undergoing a Public Inquiry into ‘Side Road Orders’ that need to be granted before it can be built.

3) The road is set to get even longer! Originally given funding for a 14km road, Norfolk County Council has now decided it wants to spend an extra £40 million of its own money on extending it several further kilometres to the west.

Plans for this new route are the subject of a series of public exhibitions.  and campaigners from organisations in the Norwich and Norfolk Transport Action Group are getting ready to hold a rally of people opposed to the road outside the last of these exhibitions on  11th June.

More about this road: http://bettertransport.org.uk/campaigns/roads-to-nowhere/local-schemes/norwich

Campaign website: Norwich and Norfolk Transport Action Group