Alliance against road building
Alliance against road building
(1) Campaign Updates - New Pre-Inquiry Meeting on Thames Gateway motorway (London); A350 Westbury eastern bypass (Wiltshire); Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon); Thorpe Underwood road (Yorkshire), New Statesman article
(2) Transport news - Briefing on DEFRA consultation on Noise
Directive; EU consultation on aviation
(3) LTP action and freebies – Road Block survey of
authorities submitting LTPs; notes on new draft guidance and new weblink;
free copies of Full Guidance on Local Transport Plans and of WebTAG Unit 1.4
(5) Events – Road Block national conference; meeting to plan action on roads and runways
New Pre-Inquiry Meeting on Thames Gateway motorway
After the Inspectors walked out of the last pre-Inquiry meeting on the 4th April, the Lead Inspector resigned a week later. Another meeting has been scheduled for 28th April, at Greenwich Town Hall (London) at 10.30am. The Objectors want a postponement of the Inquiry, but this key issue has been dumped to the bottom of the agenda. Expect more protests... The motorway will be congested on the first day of opening, according to Transport for London's (TfL) own figures, and 20 million vehicles a year will go past residents homes.
A350 Westbury eastern bypass, West Wiltshire
Wiltshire county council published a planning application on 14 April and set a time limit of only 21 days for submitting objections, ending on 6 May - coinciding exactly with the election, producing a conflict of civic duties for many activists and a democratic deficit through the preoccupation of local and national politicians with other matters.
The West Wilts group of CPRE has called it 'an election stunt', pointing out that the Highways Agency puts its road schemes into 'purdah' during an election period. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Conservative regime at the county council has seized the opportunity to slip through this unpopular scheme. A Westbury bypass is part of the dream to create a fast highway from the M4 to the South Coast ports, and will open up green fields to housing and retail parks.
The road was rejected for funding by government, and is not in the Regional Assembly's transport plans, and the Environmental Statement costs £300, and isn't available in the county! The summary is useless not mentioning any of the numerous protected species on route.
The A36/A350 Corridor Alliance (linking CPRE, T2000 and FoE groups from the M4 to the South Coast) is rushing out a leaflet to rally the massive opposition in the area. It is also briefing its solicitors to get the scheme called in and so prevent Wilts giving itself planning permission without holding a public inquiry. More info and pictures of the magnificent landscape of the Westbury White Horse and tranquil Wellhead Valley coming soon at www.westbury-bypass.net
Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon)
The consultation period for this scheme is still on going. Local campaigners would welcome letters of objection to Devon County Council and Government Office South West. Please see their website at www.kingskerswellalliance.org.uk for details on this scheme which will open land up for development around this Devon village, and push more traffic into Torbay.
Please write to: Devon County Council, The Environmental Directorate, Lucombe House, Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 4QW. Also write to: Government Office South West, The Planning Team, Mast House, Shepherd's Wharf, 24 Sutton Road, Plymouth, PL4 0HJ
Thorpe Underwood Road
North Yorkshire Council has submitted a planning application, to be funded by Thorpe Underwood services, to create a straight road with street lighting from the B6265 Boroughbridge to Green Hammerton road, to the entrance to Thorpe Underwood estate. Local campaigners have set up a website and would welcome more support.
The deadline for consultation on the planning application for the road has been moved from 1st April to 1st June, so there is still plenty of time to add your comments. For more info email , phone 01423 330278, 01423 339511 or 01423 330955 or see www.stop-the-road.co.uk
New Statesman on the environment movement
The lead story in the New Statesman this week slates the environment movement for 'losing its edge', and mentions protests against roads and runways. They are holding a vote: Is the green movement all washed up? See the article and vote at http://www.newstatesman.com/
Briefing on DEFRA consultation on Noise Directive
A briefing is available for responses to DEFRA’s current consultation on the Noise Directive. This consultation is important as the way noise maps are drawn up and the way noise action plans are formulated is likely to influence noise policy on aircraft, roads and rail for some years to come. The closing date for responses is 16th May. Contact us for a copy of the briefing. For the consultation see: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/end-two/index.htm.
EU consultation on aviation
The European Commission is asking the public what should be done about aviation and climate change. Air travel is the fastest growing source of climate change and there is no prospect of new technology being introduced that will significantly reduce aircraft emissions before 2050. The consultation deadline is May 6th and the questionnaire is at: http://europa.eu.int/yourvoice/forms/dispatch?form=394&lang=EN.
We have just completed a survey of 14 authorities to find out what major road schemes are being included in Local Transport Plans. 10 out of the 14 authorities we phoned had not yet decided what schemes might be included. For most of these authorities, the elected officers were still due to prioritise what schemes should definitely be included in the LTP. This means that there is still time to contact your local authority, find out what they are working on, and lobby them to leave major road schemes out of the LTPs. After all, as many of the authorities that we phoned pointed out, the DfT is suggesting that there is no money for major road schemes anyway.
From the authorities we contacted, the schemes that may be included in LTPs are:
Link road from M1 to Glapwell, arising out of M1 Multi-Modal Study (Derbyshire)
Loughborough Relief Road (Central Leicestershire)
Lincoln Eastern Bypass (Lincolnshire)
North Nottinghamshire bypass extension (Nottinghamshire)
Eastern Transport Corridor (Darlington)
Link from A171 Swans Corner to A174 Parkway (Middlesborough)
East Cleveland Gateway Project (Redcar & Cleveland)
Southern Radial route (part of Sunderland ARC, Tyne & Wear)
New weir crossing (Tyne & Wear)
The authorities that we phoned were all in the East Midlands and North East, apart from Wiltshire and Blackpool. Contact us for details on these, or for details of authorities around the country that are submitting LTPs.
Notes on new draft guidance and new weblink for it
The DfT has just released draft guidance for local authorities submitting bids for Major Schemes in their LTP. There are some quite significant changes, which could help campaigners. In particular, if your scheme has already received Provisional Approval, there are now new hurdles in place - i.e. a chance to get your scheme scrapped. Road Block has produced some notes on the most significant changes. Contact us for a copy. In the last bulletin we published a link for the latest draft guidance for local authorities putting in bids for new roads, but the DfT has changed the link. It is now: http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_localtrans/documents/page/dft_localtrans_037039.hcsp.
Free copies of Full Guidance on Local Transport Plans and of WebTAG Unit 1.4 guidance
Road Block has free copies of the Full Guidance on Local Transport Plans. We also have free copies of the crucial WebTAG Unit 1.4 guidance that details how the appraisal process must be followed. Contact us for copies.
We are producing an introductory guide to the appraisal process. This appraisal stage remains the most important point for stopping a road scheme, and the only time you can challenge your council for not looking at alternatives. The official guidance for it is actually pretty good, and insists on things like demand management being considered first, and that a public transport option must be appraised alongside the road. The trouble is that it is not being followed! If we can understand and influence this stage, we have a greater chance of stopping roads from being accepted. Contact us to order a copy. It will also be posted on the website when available.
Road Block National Conference
A chance to meet up with other people opposing road schemes, to share experience, inspiration and expertise. It's in Birmingham, on 4 June 2005. Booking essential as places are limited. Contact us for a booking form.
Meeting to plan action on roads and runways, Nottingham, 7th May
Interested in organising and doing proactive actions on roads / airports, and their causes and sponsors? Come to Nottingham on May 7th for a meeting to talk and plan on current and future action. The day will start around 9.30am, there is space for folk to sleep Friday night and possibly Saturday night if people want to carry on talking. Especially welcome will be people opposing schemes on the ground or in planning, who have, are or are planning direct action of any sort. Contact .
The Road Block e-bulletin comes out fortnightly and we always welcome your news.