Alliance against road building

Road Block e-bulletin * 25th March 2005

CONTENTS


(1) More roads given go-ahead - 12 schemes enter the roads programme, M74 Glasgow, A11 Attleborough (Norfolk)

(2) Campaign updates - Shinfield (Berkshire), Kingskerswell (Devon), Thames Gateway bridge, Camelford (Cornwall), Mottram - Tintwistle (Derbyshire), Stonehenge, Linslade (Bucks/Beds)

(3) Road Block news – website update, help needed, national conference

(4) Sample press release for use in election

(5) Transport news – Assumptions used for White Paper, Budget

(6) Report from G8 meeting at Derby

(7) Events - Streets for People training event, direct action gathering

(8) Oil


(1) BAD WEEK FOR ROADS - NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS


The DfT announced on 24th March that 12 new schemes will enter the roads programme totalling £1.38 billion. These include widening the M1 from Chesterfield to Sheffield and Leeds, and the M62 from Huddersfield to Leeds, bringing more noise and pollution to already blighted communities. Please get in touch if you want to campaign against this.


There was fury as on the same day, the Scottish Executive gave the go-ahead to the monstrous M74 motorway which will rip through deprived areas of east Glasgow. This was in despite of Inspector's report totally rejecting the scheme, saying it will increase traffic, would be against sustainability, would take jobs away not create them, and would create misery for those living near by. This is one of the strongest rejections of a scheme by an Inquiry Inspector. See http://www.jam74.org/.


On the same day also, the A11 Attleborough Bypass 'Improvement' was given the go-ahead in Norfolk. This is a widening of an already failed bypass. Do they ever learn? These announcements all happened at the same time, along with the release of a Transport Select Committee report on road charging - and convieniently the Easter break!


(2) CAMPAIGN UPDATES


A327 Brookers Hill / Cutbush Lane (Shinfield, Berkshire)


After stopping tree-felling on 21st Feb (see RB bulletin on 25th February), local Shinfield residents again halted the chopping of a 200 year old Oak tree in the village on 18th March. Local residents were trained in tree climbing, including a 64 year old grand mother. Meanwhile the Council are denying that Planning Permission is needed, and are conducting further Ecological surveys as there are possibly bats in the tree.


Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon)


The Environment Agency and English Nature have put a brake on the scheme as they have demanded more flood assessment studies. Meanwhile dirty tricks abound as pro-road campaigners have reported an anti-road Parish Councillor to the Standards Committee, for his opposition to the Bypass.


Thames Gateway Bridge


Otherwise known as the East London River Crossing, this monster project would funnel more traffic into the East of London. Transport for London are bulldozing the scheme through, and have not given local people time to prepare for a Public Inquiry planned in June, nor are they consulting about the scheme, and there is a devastating lack of knowledge about the scheme in the effected communities. A pre-inquiry meeting is happening on 4th April, again giving campaigners little time to prepare.


Camelford Bypass (Cornwall)


Camelford Alternative Transport Solutions (CATS) were given a boost recently when the Mayor of Camelford informed the Forum that the County Council would be unlikely to make an economic case for the road due to the mitigation conditions insisted on by English Nature and the Environment Agency.


Mottram - Tintwistle Bypass (Derbyshire)


The Highways Agency are sitting on new traffic modelling figures for this highly damaging scheme which will trash part of the Peak District. The figures would undermine the case for the road.


A303 Stonehenge


Still no sign of the Inspector's report for this tunnel scheme which will devastate the setting of Stonehenge and channel more traffic into the West Country. English Heritage and the National Trust have been lobbying for a decision, causing suspicion that they are actually lobbying for the road.


Linslade Bypass


The two women arrested for chaining themselves to a bulldozer are in court for a pre-trial review on 21 April, and the trial is set for 16-17 May. Their defence that they were preventing illegal felling of bat roosts is being obstructed by Bucks County Council refusing to release information.


(3) ROAD BLOCK NEWS


Lots more new info has been placed on the RB website - www.roadblock.org.uk - including stopping roads for the next five years (LTPs) in Take Action, and more press releases. E-bulletins are placed under News.

We need computer help! Do you know how to use Access? Can we call you up with occasional techie questions? Please get in touch.


Don’t forget the Road Block national networking conference in Birmingham, Saturday 4th June (suggested donation £10 per attendee). The is a unique opportunity to meet with people from around the country who are opposing road schemes, learn from each other, and share strategies for defeating road schemes. Contact Road Block (details at end of bulletin) for a booking form and more information.


(4) SAMPLE PRESS RELEASE TO USE IN THE RUN-UP TO THE ELECTION


Road Block have produced a sample press release that local campaigners can use to call on candidates to make a stand against a scheme. Please contact us if you would like a copy - contact details below.


(5) TRANSPORT NEWS


Sneaked onto the DfT website this week are the Assumptions that were used to produce the 2004 White Paper outlining transport policy until 2025 - http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_foi/documents/divisionhomepage/036818.hcsp Basically it says that they will not attempt to reverse traffic growth (up 40% by 2025), fuel costs will fall, car purchase costs will fall, and they will build over 4000 kms of new trunk roads, not including the miles of local authority roads they are nodding through and funding.


Budget - The Chancellor again chickened out of increasing fuel duty, and postponed it until September. Last year, when he did this, he wimped out again in September. Fuel duty increases were introduced by the Tories to discourage traffic growth, but were abanadoned by Labour after the 2000 fuel protests. Already the motorists lobbies are lobbying, and even threatening direct action.


(6) G8 AT DERBY


Any effective protest that would reach the G8 Environment Ministers was banned by the Home Secretary for miles around the hotel meeting venue. Along with local media hysteria, there was a total over reaction as 1000's of police penned in a few 100 peaceful protesters. Derby HEART, opposing the Derby inner ring road scheme, hung a banner saying "Tony Blair, all hot air, roads and runways everywhere. End climate hypocrisy".


(7) EVENTS


Transport 2000 Streets for People Training Day – “Reducing Traffic and Improving Local Transport” - 16 April. Contact Julia on julia.thomas@transport2000.org.uk or 0207 613 0743 ext 124


Another group may be organising a direct action gathering on roads and airport expansion on 7th-8th May. Pencil it into your diaries until it is confirmed.


(8) OIL


Pumping Poverty - a new report on UK aid for oil exploration by Friends of the Earth and Platform - has just been released, and can be viewed online at: www.planb.org , or www.carbonweb.org , or copies can be ordered (£10) from jo@risingtide.org.uk Also get your MP to sign an Early Day Motion by looking at http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/corporates/press_for_change/oil_edm/index.html , or www.planb.org .


Send us your news! Deadline for next e-bulletin is Thursday, 7th April.