Alliance against road building
Alliance against road building
The e-bulletin is going to come out every 3 weeks from now on, for a trial period, making the next deadline 2 November. Please send us your campaign news. Further info on opposing roads can be found at http://www.roadblock.org.uk. If you support our work, please consider setting up a small standing order at http://www.roadblock.org.uk/givemoney.htm. If any links don't work, please cut and paste the address into your address bar.
(1) Campaign updates – Weymouth Relief Road (Dorset); Mottram-Tintwistle bypass (Peak District); Priory Crescent, Southend (Essex); M6 Toll (BNRR, Birmingham); M74 (Glasgow);Norwich Northern Distributor Road (Norfolk); Durham Northern Relief Road; Road protests 'up north'; Westbury Bypass (Wiltshire); Titnore Lane (East Sussex); Brownhills By-Pass (Walsall); Bristol and Bath roads; Tunstall Northern Bypass (Stoke); Tyne Tunnel (Newcastle)
(2) Transport news – Highways Agency argues against road building again!
(3) Take Action - Urgent - Weymouth Relief Road Planning Application; Pre-budget report lobbying; Parliamentary debate on climate change; Lobby Elliot Morley to stand firm on climate change; Evidence of wildlife laws being broken needed
23 Oct - Freedom to protest conference
29 Oct - Titnore Lane protest (see below in campaigns)
29 Nov - International Aviation Conference demonstration
3 Dec - International Demo against Climate Change
Weymouth Relief Road (Dorset) - URGENT
Hundreds of letters now could help stop this road. Please write in now - see below. The registration of the planning application has been completely messed up by Dorset County Council (let's hope this is a sign of things to come!). This means that the deadline for letters is now 4 November. Go to the Take Action page of our website at http://www.roadblock.org.uk/action/weymouth.htm for a standard letter you can email directly to Dorset County Council. This scheme is one of the most destructive in the roads programme. It would cross through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB - the top landscape designation in Britain), and would devastate the setting of the largest concentration of iron age barrows in Europe. It would also cut across an ancient woodland owned by the Woodland Trust, who are opposing the scheme, with Dorset CPRE, and South Dorset Friends of the Earth. A public meeting was held on 10 October, and mass leafleting is planned.
A628 Mottram-Tintwistle bypass (Peak District)
CPRE's proposal for an HGV ban and other measures (see RB bulletin 30 Sept) is gaining wide support amongst previously pro-road local residents, but political will is lacking. The Peak District National Park Authority have said they will not support the lorry ban, despite having a statutory duty to protect the park. To keep the pressure on local protest group Save Swallow's Wood will be outside the National Park Authority HQ, Aldern House, Bakewell from 9am on Friday 14th October making themselves heard. Please also write to them to express your views. See http://www.roadblock.org.uk/action/a628.htm for details on the ban, a sample letter, and details of the demonstration. Meanwhile Tameside Council have been using taxpayers money to pay for full page ads in local newspapers, asking for letters to support the road. The campaign has clearly got them rattled! For more information on the Save Swallow's Wood campaign against the A628 and to sign the online petition, please visit http://www.saveswallowswood.org.uk.
A127/A1159 Priory Crescent, Southend (Essex)
Southend based road campaigners Parklife have continued their protest camp, now about to enter its fourth week (see RB bulletin 30 Sept). The camp has generated a huge amount of public support, with the camp inundated with food and supplies. There are six full time campers, and visitors are very welcome. The objective of the camp is to influence the Department for Transport to reject funding the significant cash shortfall for the road, and ultimately to stop the destruction that it will bring to the town. The camp is located above the site of an Anglo-Saxon King's burial mound, said by the Museum of London to be of 'international importance'. This scheme would not only trash the Anglo Saxon King’s burial mound, but also part of Priory Park, and 113 trees. Residents have collected over 20,000 signatures against the road. Campaigners would welcome visitors, and support, especially financial. Call 07929 595 761 or 07929 595 766 or 07739 189165
M6 Toll (BNRR, Birmingham)
The Highways Agency finally released the long awaited year long report into the effects of the M6 toll road on 3 October. Unsurprisingly, the study shows that the M6 Toll is failing to cut congestion and has generated more car trips. In fact, the traffic increases on the M6 north and south of the Toll are roughly double the previous predictions. While the report claims time savings of 4 to 18 minutes for toll users, the increased traffic flow will be increasing congestion on feeder roads, so that there may be an overall journey time loss. This is a blow to the argument for a new M6 Expressway or for M6 widening, showing that building new roads can only generate traffic, not reduce congestion. See http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,1583044,00.html.
The JAM74 Campaign opposing this motorway through south east Glasgow, are busy fundraising to pay for a very important legal challenge to the scheme. They are challenging the right of the Scottish Executive to over turn the independent public inquiry inspector who completely rejected the entire case for the road (see RB bulletin 17 June). Please consider donating towards this important case. See http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/about/m74_appeal_intro.html or http://www.jam74.org Meanwhile the Scottish Executive are proposing massive limitations to the scope of public inquiries, and there are rumours the same is about to be announced in England...
Norwich Northern Distributor Road (Norfolk)
After managing to get the most damaging quarter of the road stopped (see RB bulletin 30 Sept), the Norwich No N25 Campaign meeting on 7 Oct was a lively affair, with passionate dissatisfaction with the road scheme, its likely consequences and Norfolk Council's procedural approach widely expressed. The meeting issued a press statement that "As a group of Norfolk residents, we disagree with Norfolk County Council's proposal to build either a part or a whole NDR. This would damage the environment, destroy villages and increase traffic. We ought to use the resources instead to improve the quality of people's lives. DO NOT BUILD A ROAD TO NOWHERE". They resolved to take actions including getting as many people to Ely to the opening of the East of England Plan Enquiry on the morning of 1 Nov, as it's sure to get substantial press coverage, and drawing attention to the serious hydrological threats posed by the NDR. See http://www.norwichn25.org.
Durham Northern Relief Road
Durham County Council has just announced that it is making a bid to the Transport Innovation Fund for finances to study measures to curb long term congestion in Durham. Options would be: "introducing a charge at a specific point on the busy A690, with through traffic potentially being diverted onto new alternative routes; or, introducing a wider congestion charge ‘cordon’ around the City centre, coupled with improved Park and Ride and public transport facilities." The "new alternative routes" in the first option mean the appallingly destructive "Northern Relief Road." The option is also puzzling as the TIF is explicitly aimed at demand management schemes, not at building a road that would both create more traffic and ruin many of Durham's residual green spaces. See http://www.savethevalley.org.uk.
Road protests 'up north'
A Manchester-based anti-roads group will be meeting at 12pm on Saturday 15th October at The Basement, Lever Street, Manchester to plan, brainstorm, and maybe even start making things in preparation for a day of demonstration and street theatre. The aim of the demo is bring groups and individuals together to raise awareness of the many damaging road schemes that are threatening the North/North West regions. Come along if you want to get involved. Please bring gaffer tape and chicken wire if you have any lying around! E-mail Emma on for more information.
A350 Westbury Bypass (Wiltshire)
About 800 objections went in against the planning application for this scheme - a bypass for a small Wiltshire town of about 9,000 people, going through their favourite recreational area by the famous chalk White Horse. Wiltshire County Council is lobbying at the regional level, trying to promote the A350 as an important lorry route in the South West. Not many local authorities are trying to attract as many HGVs as possible through villages and towns in their area, but this County Council and its close companion, the Wessex Chambers of Commerce, are perfectly willing to do so! No doubt so they will then have a better case for getting regional funding for bypasses, and thus more green-field development. They are opposed by the A36 / A350 Corridor Alliance and the Westbury Alliance.
Titnore Lane (East Sussex)
On Saturday, 29 October at 2pm, the newly formed ‘Titnore Emergency Action’ is to hold a protest at the southern end of Titnore Lane that is likely to form the start of an occupation of the Titnore lane site. The road is designed to provide a means for traffic to reach the already over-trafficked A27 from a massive new housing estate. See http://www.protectourwoodland.fsnet.co.uk and http://www.scar-uk.fsnet.co.uk for further info.
Brownhills By-Pass (Walsall)
On 9 October 80 local people walked the route of the road with good local media coverage. Local MP Brian Jenkins is supporting the SCAR campaign, and is taking the SCAR submission against the bid for funding straight to the ministers. See http://www.stoptheroads.co.uk.
Bristol and Bath roads
As well as the completion of the south Bristol Ring Road and a new connecting link between the A370 and the M5 around Nailsea, the Greater Bristol Strategic Transport study (see RB bulletin 30 Sept) has also come up with a very controversial proposal to link the A36 and A46 across the Batheaston watermeadows, at Bath. This is the next stage on from the controversial Solsbury Bypass which ignited direct action protests in the 1990s. All these roads are likely to result in opposition from residents and environmental groups, particularly the link road because it appears to run through the National Trust owned Tyntesfield Estate, which is their local 'jewel in the crown'.
Tunstall Northern Bypass (Stoke)
Stoke on Trent City Council have confirmed that Landmatch and Land Improvement Holdings plc have been in Scotia Valley marking out trees on Council owned Public Open Space. This is just 4 weeks before the High Court hearing on 9/10 November (see RB bulletin 30 Sept). The bypass will open the heathland owned by the council for housing development. See http://spaces.msn.com/members/tunstall.
Tyne Tunnel (Newcastle)
The Tyne Crossings Alliance is concerned that the Inspector's Report, recommending that the proposed second Tyne road tunnel be permitted, fogs the distinction between planning and parliamentary procedure. In planning terms the Inspector agreed that the proposed new tunnel would increase traffic and damage the environment but held that the (claimed) economic need for the development justified dumping PPG13. The Alliance suggests that this is a political decision and not a planning one, so is beyond the Inspector's remit. See http://www.tyne-crossings.org.
Highways Agency argues against road building again!
According to Planning Magazine (7 October) within the 'growth areas', "the agency is keen to emphasise the importance of soft measures such as travel plans and car sharing in mitigating the impact of proposals on the trunk roads". Gwyn Drake, head of network strategy in southern England said "Transport is too often looked at as something that is add on, rather than fully integrated from the beginning". The Highways Agency's response to the draft East of England Regional Transport Strategy is that it "comprises a comprehensive wish list of schemes and projects that have not been subject to detailed appraisal". They have been equally hard hitting about the South East and East Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS) - see RB bulletin 20 May.
Urgent - Weymouth Relief Road Planning Application
The campaign need 100s of objection letters. Please send letters objecting to the Planning Application by 4 November. This is one of the most destructive schemes in the roads programme. Objection letters now could help ensure there is a Public Inquiry. Go to the Take Action page of the Road Block website for a standard letter you can cut and paste at http://www.roadblock.org.uk/action/weymouth.htm.
Pre-budget report lobbying - Transport and Climate Change
A quick easy bit of lobbying in time for the important pre-budget report in November, has been made possible by Friends of the Earth. Visit the FoE website for a standard letter to Gordon Brown outlining three measures he can introduce now to tackle climate change:
. Raising Air Passenger Duty to stop the runaway growth in aviation emissions
. Reform car tax to give a real incentive to buy fuel efficient cars
. Increase fuel duty and invest in public transport
Parliamentary debate on climate change
Do you know what your MP is doing on 11 November? No? Well, now's the time to find out! Friends of the Earth need at least 100 MPs to support a parliamentary debate on two new Bills that will help to tackle climate change. Please email your MP and ask them to support the debate. See http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate/press_for_change/email_bills/index.html
Lobby Elliot Morley to stand firm on climate change
Environment Secretary Elliot Morley will be attending talks to decide EU policy at the UN climate talks in Montreal. Morley will be negotiating on behalf of the EU at Montreal so these EU talks are crucial so that climate change action is not undermined. Email Morley here: http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate/press_for_change/email_morley/index.html
Evidence of wildlife laws being broken needed
A roads campaigner needs evidence of the Habitats Directive being broken in relation to road building projects to provide to a sympathetic MP. Has your council built a road or granted itself planning permission without doing adequate bat surveys, for instance? Please contact Victoria Harvey at .
Demo outside the PDNPA HQ in Bakewell - 14 Oct. See http://www.roadblock.org.uk/action/a628.htm for more details.
Freedom to protest conference - 23 Oct. See http://www.freedomtoprotest.org.uk.
Titnore Lane protest (see above in campaigns) - 29 Oct. See http://www.protectourwoodland.fsnet.co.uk.
International Aviation Conference demonstration - 29 Nov. Every head of every aviation industry company will be attending this international conference in central London where they will be discussing expansion. There are plans for demonstrations at the gala dinner in the evening... See www.planestupid.com.
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. See http://www.globefox.com/cacc/globalclimatecampaign.html.