Alliance against road building
Alliance against road building
Further info on opposing roads can be found at http://www.roadblock.org.uk. If some of the links don't work, try cut and pasting the link into your address bar. There now won't be another e-bulletin until 16 September, so please send your news before then.
(1) Campaign updates – Priory Crescent, Southend (Essex); Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon); Weymouth Relief Road (Dorset); A27 Southerham to Beddingham (Lewes, East Sussex); Norwich Northern Distributor Road (Norfolk); Thames Gateway Bridge (London); Durham Northern Relief Road; Tunstall Northern Bypass (Stoke); Aberdeen Western Bypass; Brunel Link/Harnham Relief Road (Salisbury); Mottram-Tintwistle bypass (Peak District)
(2) Transport news – Roads in Local Transport Plans; What can Road Block do for me?; Twyford Down on Radio 4's The Reunion programme; Sainsbury's to pay for school buses?; Road Traffic accidents; Jeremy Clarkson
(3) Events - Local Transport Plan training days; Freedom to protest conference - 23 Oct; International Demo against Climate Change - 3 Dec
A127/A1159 Priory Crescent, Southend (Essex)
Local campaigners from the Parklife group occupied the lobby of the Marsham Street offices of the Department of Transport on 16 August. The action was to persuade the government not to award additional funding to Southend on Sea council for a 870m road scheme, where the costs have tripled to more than £11 million. Local residents have promised direct action should the government give the go-ahead. This very locally unpopular scheme would trash an Anglo Saxon King’s burial mound, part of Priory Park, and 113 trees. Residents have collected over 20,000 signatures against the road.
Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon)
Government Office South West (GOSW) has unfortunately decided not to call-in the planning decision for public inquiry. GOSW did hint, however, that Devon County Council could leave itself open to legal challenge because the Environment Statement was so bad. The council had voted to give itself planning permission if GOSW did not intervene, but so far has not. The council's Environment Director stated in the local press there were still problems to be resolved (which, incidentally, begs the question why councillors were advised to vote for the scheme?). Could the council finally have realised it doesn't stand a hope of acquiring approval and funding for this £80 million monster, and needs to join the 21st century and drop the road? Meanwhile the Kingskerswell Alliance campaign are going on the PR offensive and are organising a big public meeting. More info at: http://www.kingskerswellalliance.org.uk/
Weymouth Relief Road (Dorset)
A planning application is due to be submitted at the end of September. This scheme is one of the most destructive in the LTP programme. It would cross through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB - the top landscape designation in Britain), and would devastate the settings of numerous iron age barrows. It would also cut across an ancient woodland owned by the Woodland Trust, who are opposing the scheme, with Dorset CPRE. Meanwhile, Dorset County Council has commissioned, at great expense, a consultancy called Buro Happold, to look into justifying the resurrection of many road schemes in the county. This is being done despite being warned, by both Government Office and the Regional Assembly’s emerging transport policies, that these schemes would be unlikely to receive regional priority.
A27 Southerham to Beddingham (Lewes, East Sussex)
This Highways Agency trunk road scheme would pass through an AONB and the new South Downs National Park. The government scrapped the previous dual carriageway option, due to the environmental impact, but the Highways Agency has come up with a scheme which, by stretching everything to the limit and throwing in a ludicrously wide cycleway, is nominally single-carriageway but only 4m narrower than the original dual carriageway, making it suspiciously easy to upgrade to dual later. A public inquiry is due to start on 6 Sept, where top transport experts Alan James, Prof Phil Goodwin and others will be speaking against the scheme with the A27 Action Group - see http://a27actiongroup.cjb.net .
Norwich Northern Distributor Road (Norfolk)
After successfully blocking the route of a Norfolk County Council-sponsored propaganda coach tour (see RB bulletin 12 August), campaign groups have pledged a month of action against this mini-M25. Protest groups attending a ‘summit’ said the road, part of the Norfolk Economic Growth Strategy, which has not been subject to public consultation, would generate more traffic and not solve the Norwich area’s congestion problems. The Campaign to Protect Rural England said the £165 million scheme would prompt a wave of development and much of the countryside around the historic city would disappear. The county council’s cabinet meets on September 19 to decide the fate of the project. Campaigners plan a second summit on October 7, at a venue yet to be fixed. More info at http://www.norwichn25.org/
Thames Gateway Bridge (London)
The inquiry is due to re-open on 13 Sept when it will be the turn of the Objectors. If you want to see some top experts in action, you can see Keith Buchan on 13 Sept, Prof Phil Goodwin on 14 Sept, and Prof John Whitelegg on 20 Sept. See http://www.nobridge.org.uk
Durham Northern Relief Road
In the new provisional Durham Local Transport Plan, the council are now saying that the road may well be considered along with an extension of congestion charging in central Durham, to entice people onto it, but also warning that if the road is not given the go-ahead the congestion charging will be widened further. The proposed road and/or congestion charging are set to be aired publicly this autumn. During this period a new park and ride scheme opens in Durham, closing some lanes of the current route through the city centre, and no doubt leading some motorists to call for the relief road. One fear among local people is that the Council's policy may appear to be following government policy on favouring road charging, whilst in reality this issue becomes a way to whip up support for road building. See http://www.savethevalley.org.uk
Tunstall Northern Bypass (Stoke)
Government Office for the West Midlands have confirmed Stoke on Trent council
will still have to submit an updated appraisal for consideration by ministers,
should the campaign's legal challenge at the High Court challenge fail in
November. So far protesters score 9/9 in the risk assessment! The campaign
has a new website: http://spaces.msn.com/members/tunstall
Aberdeen Western Bypass
The hot news for Aberdeen's transport campaigners and environmentalists is
that the proposed Aberdeen Western Bypass is now further behind schedule.
The latest news is that the Scottish Transport Minister Tavish Scott will
consider the findings of the Spring consultation in September, and that the
earliest date for draft orders is now December and not October. Let the delays
and cost increases continue....
Brunel Link/Harnham Relief Road (Salisbury)
Wiltshire County Council still claim that they have been unable to count the objections submitted to their second attempt at a planning application for this controversial road proposal, despite the fact that 12 weeks have now elapsed since the closing date for objections. Salisbury Transport 2000 have now submitted a formal request under the Freedom of Information regulations to get more information about the number of objections received. Salisbury District Council have decided to submit a holding objection to the scheme on the grounds of the concerns raised by the environmental bodies and deficiencies in the Environmental Statement.
Mottram-Tintwistle bypass (Peak District)
On the 21 August, the Save Swallow's Wood campaign - http://www.saveswallowswood.org.uk - held a stall at the Mottram Show, collecting petition signatures and providing visitors to the show with a chance to view the detailed plans for the controversial Mottram-Tintwistle bypass. The stall attracted a lot of support from local residents who are keen to oppose the scheme, with over 250 petition signatures collected on the day and many of those signatories signing up as campaign supporters. If plans to build the bypass go ahead, the Mottram showground will become a roundabout connecting the A628 to the A57. The show, which celebrated it's 100th anniversary last year, has already been relocated from its original site, and it is unlikely that another suitable venue will be found in the Mottram area.
(2) TRANSPORT NEWS
Roads in Local Transport Plans
82 local authorities around the country have submitted their provisional 5 year plans to the government offices. Road Block has assessed 63 of them, and so far there are over 90 road schemes planned, and 14 private developer road schemes included. It is now up to the government to draw a line in the sand, and not give any more go-aheads. Meanwhile campaigners have until March to lobby to have the roads thrown out of the final draft, when it has to go to government.
What can Road Block do for me?
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!
* 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
* Publicity for your activities
* Support, advice and encouragement - call anytime!
Twyford Down on Radio 4's The Reunion programme
The battle to save Twyford Down from the M3 spanned decades, resulted in the first anti-road direct action in Britain, in 1992, and spawned a national movement that transformed transport policy. Radio 4's The Reunion programme with Sue MacGregor reunites five protesters who each played a different role. Sunday 4 September at 11.15 or Friday 9 September at 9.00. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/the_reunion.shtml
Sainsbury's to pay for school buses?
Enterprising campaigner, Sheila Oliver, has spotted that money raised by Stockport council through development could be used to fund American style "yellow buses" which would significantly reduce 'school run' traffic. The money has been raised from Sainsbury's through the developer's fund known as Section 106, which the council should use to fund green travel projects. Sheila has spotted that if this money isn't used by 2001 it will be returned to Sainsbury's unspent. Sainsbury's say they would be delighted if the money was spent on "yellow buses", it is now up to Stockport council to get on with it... or are they deliberately trying to keep the traffic bad to justify the Stockport Bypass...?
Road Traffic accidents
Road Safety Research Report 58 has just been released, and states that road traffic accidents whilst at work are the single largest cause of occupational fatality in the UK.
Don't forget to sign the petition to oppose the anti-social, anti environmental 'petrol-head' receiving an honorary degree from Oxford Brookes University on 12 September.
Local Transport Plan training days - 1 and 15 Oct
These days are for activists to compare their local authority's draft 5 year LTPs, and share campaign strategies.
LONDON - 1 October, see http://transport2000.org.uk/diarydates/maintainDiaryDates.asp?DiaryDateID=413
MANCHESTER - 15 October, see http://transport2000.org.uk/diarydates/maintainDiaryDates.asp?DiaryDateID=414
Freedom to protest conference - 23 Oct. See www.freedomtoprotest.org.uk
International Demonstrations on Climate Change - 3 Dec
Demonstrations will be happening all over the world on 3rd December for action at climate change. There will be a large demo in London whilst the UN climate talks are happening in Montreal.