Road Block is now a project of Campaign for Better Transport. Please visit www.bettertransport.org.uk for up-to-date information.
Road Block is an alliance of groups and individuals campaigning against road-building. Since January 2007, it has operated as a project of Transport 2000.
Road Block was launched in 2005 in response to a roads programme of over 200 approved schemes throughout the UK: a scale of road building not seen since the infamous 1990s road building programme, which led to unprecedented community-based protest. Many schemes were cancelled and the new Labour government made a manifesto pledge to cut road building and traffic growth.
Today the government has admitted that it has given up on this commitment to reduce traffic, and is following a 'predict and provide' model - by predicting huge traffic growth, and then attempting to build roads to keep up with this growth. The Scottish Executive and the Welsh Assembly Government are also reverting back to roadbuilding.
Road building destroys and degrades habitats, species, and heritage. It divides and fragments communities. It contributes to health problems such as asthma. Road building does little for the poorest in society, who depend on public transport.
Road transport is also a major contributor to the UKs output of greenhouse gases (see briefing here). Currently road transport accounts for 17% of total UK carbon dioxide emissions and it rises every year due to traffic growth, outstripping any gains made by fuel efficiency. High levels of these gases are causing the climate to change at a speed never seen before in human history.
Getting around, and having a secure economy, need not involve such destruction.
- Reduce the need to travel by locating life's essentials (healthcare, employment, schools, shops) near to where people live
- Halt and ultimately reverse growth in car and lorry traffic
- Oppose any more growth in road capacity
- Encourage a switch from cars to feet, bicycles and public transport
- Switch freight from lorries to rail and water
- Cut back on emissions that contribute to climate change
- Offer support and training for local groups and campaigners through briefings, telephone advice, training events and conferences
- Link up local groups with national NGO's and other groups and 'experts' working on transport issues
- Develop an overview of the road building situation across the UK
- Contribute to a better informed media debate about road building and generate positive media coverage for the anti-roads movement
- Provide a monthly email bulletin of news updates and essential information for campaigners
- Build the confidence of local campaigners and provide inspiration to win campaigns
Road Block is not a membership organisation and has no joining fee. However, donations are welcome, as these are the core of Road Block's funding.
Supporters can sign up to receive a monthly email bulletin and can have their contact details and group news added to the Road Block website if requested.
Road Block is not a direct action organisation, and has formed to help groups campaign through the planning processes, and hopefully get schemes stopped at this stage. Road Alert is a separate organisation that supports peaceful direct action against road building.
The idea for Road Block came the day after the Future of Transport White Paper (the 10 year plan for transport) was published in July 2004. Transport campaigners from the present day and from the nineties roads protests held an emergency meeting to discuss how to tackle the Government's abandonment of previous promises to halt road building. The idea for Road Block was born. Later that afternoon a representative from each of the big roads protests of the nineties went to the Department for Transport and handed in a letter to the Transport Minister, Alistair Darling, and a bicycle D-lock, promising more protests.
Five frantic months of fundraising and networking followed and finally on
17th January 2005 Road Block was launched at the same time as South Bedfordshire
Friends of the Earth stood in front of bulldozers to oppose the Linslade Bypass.
The combination of action and the launch of a national alliance ensured massive
media coverage and a flurry of enquiries.
Now the alliance has grown and grown and more people are standing up to the government's roadbuilding plans. We will not allow wildlife sites, homes and communities, air quality and tranquilly be destroyed so that traffic can be allowed to rise, contributing to climate change. Enough is enough!
For those campaigning against road schemes, we can offer you the following help:
* Numerous Briefing Papers on our website, from campaign tactics to understanding cost benefit analysis!
* Publicity for your activities
* Support, advice and encouragement - call anytime!
* Referral to expert help - on planning issues, traffic modelling, ecology, freedom of information, legal challenges
* Small amounts of funding, especially on campaigning expenses, like leaflets and banners, and demonstrations
* Providing a national overview of roads policy
"Road Block came on the scene just at the right time for us in the Hastings Alliance Against the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road. They feed us useful information from the experience of other campaigns around the UK, help us develop our understanding of policy context, and give us invaluable advice on our campaign skills. We certainly feel re-energised in our long running battle against this damaging road at a critical stage in our campaign - and however busy they are, lines to Road Block are always open."
Derrick Coffee, Hastings Alliance
"Stonnall Campaign About Roads (SCAR) really 'got off the ground' when we attended the very successful Road Block conference in June 2005. Since then we have received great support from this group and a constant flow of information to keep us on our toes. Our campaign would have flagged had it not been for Road Blocks enthusiasm and continual upbeat messages. The regular bulletins ensure that we can see what is going on all over the country with other campaigns, which is very encouraging."
Baron Johnson, Secretary, Stonnall Campaign About Roads (SCAR)
"I don't know what we would do without the support and advice from Road Block. They help us to see the bigger picture, and help us to stay focussed and energised in what would otherwise be an overwhelming and thankless task."
Emma Lawrence, Save Swallows Wood campaign against the A628 Mottram to Tintwistle Bypass www.saveswallowswood.org.uk
"Our campaign against a relief road through the green centre of Durham has been successful so far largely because of the expert advice, information and encouragement received from Road Block. This help was especially decisive at the very early stages of the campaign. Without such support the sense of isolation and helplessness locally could well have meant that a destructive and controversial road scheme would not have faced the kind of scrutiny it deserves. This story has been repeated dozens of times across the country. We are very worried by news that Road Block may become short of funds."
Timothy Clark, Save the Valley: Durham Residents against the Northern Relief Road
"The Kingskerswell Alliance has been fighting (successfully) a bypass for the last four years. Two years ago we engaged with Road Block and this proved to be the turning point in the effectiveness of our campaign. Local pressure groups have an in depth knowledge of their area and its requirements and are well able to present a case at this level of detail. What is needed is help in knowing the most effective way to lobby at higher levels and it is here that Road Block is invaluable. Road Block manages to combine being a national body arguing against road building at a national level and at the same time providing support at local level. You do not meet people of the calibre of Becca Lush every day, and they need to receive the utmost support."
Richard Hamlyn, Chairman, Kingskerswell Alliance
"We were all complete novices when we started our campaign with no idea where to get information and advice. We found a link to the Road Block website which has a vast amount of information which we found extremely helpful. Later we also received advice more specific to our campaign. It was also good to learn about some of the other groups around the country doing a similar thing. It made a huge difference to us knowing that we were not alone."
Jade Allison, Save Dalkeith Park
"Becca is doing a really terrific job, keeping her eye on a very big pitch and a very fast-moving ball. I'm impressed by how quickly she's mastered the changing transport debate. She's worked out exactly how things have moved on since the 1990s and how transport campaigning needs to adapt to be effective. Almost single-handedly, she's dragging road campaigning into the 21st century. Road Block is doing two great things. First, it's helping small campaigns to share information. It's a big help to feel you're not working in isolation. Second, Road Block is helping to plug our campaigns into bigger, more strategic, and often more difficult issues like climate change and energy policy. Becca is managing to do both things very successfully. She's thinking and acting both locally and globally. She's doing a brilliant job with enthusiasm and commitment and we're very glad she's there."
Chris Woodford, Save Stonehenge
"Road Block has been of immense help to our campaign against the misguided Weymouth Relief Road scheme, by pointing us successfully to funding sources, industry contacts, publicity aids and legal advice."
Howard Thomas Chairman CPRE Dorset, Weymouth Relief Road campaign
"Road Block have been extremely helpful to us in Salisbury Transport 2000, where we have been campaigning for five years against the hugely destructive Brunel Link/Harnham Relief Road scheme. Road Block have helped put us in touch with other campaigners, especially at the incredibly useful conference, where there was the opportunity to meet campaigners from around the country and to take part in workshops with really knowledgeable facilitators and participants. We also really appreciate the work Road Block does at a national level, participating in consultations and informing us of the latest policy developments. The regular bulletin and the Road Block website really help us to see our own particular battles in the full regional and national context."
Margaret Willmot, Hon Secretary, Salisbury Transport 2000
"Road Block has been an enormous help to our campaign. They gave us the encouragement and enthusiasm to start our campaign off, and have consistently supported us. They have helped us find press contacts, related campaigns and help with resources. They are an important source of information regarding national events and matters arising in legislation or various government bodies. They give clear advice in unravelling technical documents. It is vitally important that the anti-roads body has a national voice and Road Block supplies that."
Julie White, No Widening M1 campaign
"I can't find words to express my gratitude to Road Block for all the help and advice they have given me in my fight to save the lovely Goyt Valley from destruction by the A6 Bypass. The Road Block conference I attended was inspiring, and it is very reassuring to know that there is always someone there offer you support, encouragement and jolly good advice. Road Block is making a huge difference."
Sheila Oliver, A6 Bypass campaign
"Road Block have been a great help to our campaign, from the excellent breakdown and briefings of complicated government documents, to raising all issue to a national level and most of all moral support for our group when times got hard."
Ian Norris, campaign against Tunstall Northern Bypass
"Before Road Block was born, it was rather like campaigning in a wilderness; there was little interaction with other groups and few ways to find out the experiences of other campaigners. Road Block has been successful in creating a network of campaign groups, in allowing campaigners to share experiences and examples of good practice and in providing groups with news and information on the national transport scene. Furthermore, the national focus on issues such as climate change and planning policy has helped local anti-road campaigners feel that they are part of a cohesive campaign for sustainable transport, rather than a bunch of NIMBYs."
Helen Baczkowska, No N25 Campaign, Norwich