Alliance against road building
Alliance against road building
(2) Campaign updates – Brunel Link / Harnham Link (Salisbury, Wilts); A350 Westbury eastern bypass (Wiltshire); Marathon Pre-Inquiry Meeting on Thames Gateway motorway (London); Weymouth Relief Road (Dorset); M3 near Hill of Tara (Ireland)
(3) Transport news – Election brief; fuel protests; no new rail in Local Transport Plans; new DfT Focus on Personal Travel statistics; free Highways Agency list and map of trunk road schemes; Rod Eddington review of transport decisions
A chance to meet up with other people opposing road schemes, to share experience, inspiration and expertise. Workshops on Public Inquiries, Planning Surgery, Roads and the Economy, and more... It's in Birmingham, on 4 June 2005. Booking essential as places are limited. Contact us for a booking form.
New Planning Application for Brunel Link / Harnham Link (Salisbury, Wilts) - URGENT ACTION NEEDED
Wilts County Council are keeping regional roads campaigners very busy (see also Westbury below), as the revised Brunel Link/Harnham Relief Road planning application has now been issued. The closing date for responses is 20th May, and representation need to be sent to Mr J Day, Principal Planning Officer, Environmental Services Department, Wiltshire County Council, County Hall, Trowbridge, BA14 8JD by that date, quoting reference 05/8007. This is part of the Salisbury Bypass scheme which was famously defeated in the 1990s. It must be stopped again, as it is very damaging, and unpopular locally. This scheme has already been Provisionally Approved by the DfT, and the Council are now rejecting all previous objections. Please see www.sinkthelink.org.uk or www.salisburyt2000.org.uk for more info.
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, which has now ended on 6 May - coinciding exactly with the election. 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, and threatens the magnificent landscape of the Westbury White Horse and tranquil Wellhead Valley. The A36/A350 Corridor Alliance (linking CPRE, T2000 and FoE groups from the M4 to the South Coast) is opposing the scheme.
Marathon Pre-Inquiry Meeting on Thames Gateway motorway
After the Inspectors fled the last pre-Inquiry meeting on 4th April, and the Lead Inspector resigned a week later, a new meeting was held on 28th April. The meeting entered the record books when it lasted 12 hours! The new Inspector insisted that Objector's demand for a postponement of the Inquiry (due to start on 7th June) was left until the end of the agenda. Local and national campaigners from Action Group Against the Bridge (AGAB - http://www.pvr.co.uk/), Friends of the Earth and Transport 2000, painstakingly explained to the Inspector how they have been obstructed from obtaining vital information to fight the scheme. The Inspector will now report to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, who will decide on the postponement issue. 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. See press release on Road Block website at http://roadblock.org.uk/pressreleases.html
Weymouth Relief Road (Dorset)
Campaigners from Dorset CPRE and the Woodland Trust were able to examine the need for the road in the West Dorset Local Plan Inquiry. Campaigners maintain that there is no economic justification for the scheme and it will not solve traffic problems in the town. None of the major employers in the area have Workplace Travel Plans. The scheme will be devastating environmentally, cutting through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and a Woodland Trust owned ancient woodland. This scheme (Orange route) has already been provisionally accepted by the DfT, and the next step will be to fight the scheme through Public Inquiry. Funds are needed.
M3 Motorway near Hill of Tara (Ireland)
Campaigners fighting to stop a motorway being built in the shadow of the Hill of Tara, north west of Dublin, want as many people as possible to sign an online petition and send their objection to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. The proposed M3 motorway has been described by archaeologists as the worst case of state-sponsored vandalism ever inflicted on Irish cultural heritage. This is part of a massive expansion of road building in Ireland so please help. The Save the Hill of Tara, the National Monument of Ireland Petition can be found on: http://www.PetitionOnline.com/hilltara/petition.html
A very incomplete quick look at election results shows that the Labour MP in Weymouth, Jim Knight, who supports the Weymouth Relief Road (see above) retained his seat, slightly increasing his majority. Conservative candidate David Evernnet, who opposes the Thames Gateway Bridge, won the Bexleyheath and Crayford seat from the road supporting Labour ex-MP. Lib Dem candidates in all the Boroughs effected by the Bridge, who unanimously opposed the bridge, all increased their share of the vote.
Despite fuel duty being frozen since 2000 and the urgent need to tackle transport's contribution to climate change, a handful of fuel protesters were out trying to make fuel prices an election issue. The protests were very small, unsupported, and annoyed the media as they had been promised something bigger. See Road Block press release at ../pressreleases.html.
No new rail in LTP2, but more roads planned
Government Office for West Midlands (GOWM) have said that although Local Transport Plan (LTP) funding can now go towards rail schemes, it will not be available for scheme to expand the rail network. Road Block initial research of local authorities plans for LTP2 show that many are working up yet more road schemes. Road Block recently spoke at a mass meeting about proposed rail station closures in the Stoke area. Whilst public transport is being systematically undermined, billions of pounds are being wasted on futile road schemes. The links are being made, and will be strengthened.
New DfT 'Focus on Personal Travel' statistics
The Department for Transport has just released the 2005 Focus of Personal Travel statistics, which includes little gems such as: the proportion of households with access to one or more cars increased from 59 per cent in 1980 to 74 per cent in 2002; the average annual distance travelled by people as car drivers rose by 15 per cent during the 1990s; the average distance walked fell by 20 per cent during the 1990s; the distance travelled by bus declined by 11 per cent. Both declines reflect increased car use; Bus and rail fares rose by a third in real terms between 1980 and 2003; the overall cost of motoring remains at or below its 1980 level; The school run accounted for 21 per cent of car use in urban areas during peak times in the morning in 2002/03; the lowest levels of household car ownership were among single elderly people, where two thirds do not have access to a car, and single parents, where half are without a car. About 20 per cent of households without a car have difficulty accessing supermarkets or their doctor.
Check out the statistics on: http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_transstats/documents/page/dft_transstats_037492.hcsp
Highways Agency Business Plan - useful freebie!
The Highways Agency has just published its Business Plan for 2005-06, which is worth having for its comprehensive scheme lists and maps. Free hard copies are available from HA Publications, tel 0870 1226 236 - the doc reference number is L040111.
Appointment of Rod Eddington to review transport decisions
Outgoing British Airways Chief Executive Rod Eddington has been asked by the Government to advise on the long term impact of transport decisions on the UK's economy. Good to see they chose someone from one of the most polluting industries to do the job! It will be a one year study and will publish in Spring 2006.