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Plans to relocate A47 dyke would threaten wildlife, say campaigners

24 August 2007
Environmental campaigners have expressed concern over Government plans to investigate a trial site for dyke relocation alongside the A47 Acle Straight [1].

The Council for National Parks [2] and Transport 2000 [3] say that any decision to go ahead with a trial should only be taken once alternative small-scale road safety solutions have been tried and tested. Monitoring of road safety measures only recently put in place will not be complete until summer 2008.

Moreover, a relocation trial for dykes that affect wildlife and bird sites of European importance would require an Appropriate Assessment under the Habitats Directive. Trials on dykes outside a European site are also likely to require an environmental assessment because the dyke network covering Halvergate Marshes is interconnected.

David Murray, transport campaigner, Council for National Parks, said:

“The relocation of the dykes must be considered very carefully and as a last resort because of their wildlife importance. As a stakeholder member of the feasibility study into the relocation of the dykes we are surprised to learn about these proposals through the local newspaper. This undermines the important dialogue that has been going on with Atkins, the consultants to the Highways Agency, and suggests that the Agency has paid little more than lip service to its environmental stakeholders. We are concerned that removal of the dykes could shift people’s attention back to the much maligned proposals to widen the A47, when instead the focus should continue to be on making the approved safety measures such as junction improvements, more visible road studs, driver warning signs and skid-resistant tarmac work”.

Denise Carlo, a campaigner for Transport 2000 said:

“If a project is likely to have an adverse effect upon a European site, it will have to be proven that no alternative solutions exist”.


Notes to editors

[1] Eastern Daily Press, 24th August 2007

[2] The Council for National Parks (CNP) is the only national, voluntary sector organisation dedicated to National Parks. CNP is an umbrella of over 40 environmental and amenity groups across England and Wales. CNP aims to give the voluntary sector a shared vision and voice on all National Park issues.

[3] Transport 2000 is an independent campaigning and research body that represents the key transport interests of around 40 environmental groups, transport organisations and transport unions. We bring together people who seek to reduce the environmental and social effects of transport through encouraging less use of cars, lorries and planes and more use of rail, buses, trams, cycling and walking.