Alliance against road building
Alliance against road building
If any weblinks below don't work, please cut and paste the link into your address bar. The next e-bulletin deadline is 23 November. Please send us your campaign news. Further info on opposing roads can be found at our website at http://www.roadblock.org.uk. If you do one thing this e-bulletin, please go to the TAKE ACTION part and please send off those emails and letters.
(1) Campaign updates – Dalkeith Northern Bypass (Midlothian); Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon); Priory Crescent, Southend (Essex); Titnore Lane (East Sussex); Weymouth Relief Road (Dorset); Mottram-Tintwistle bypass (Peak District); Glossop Spur Road (Tameside); Heysham - M6 Link (Lancaster); M74 (Glasgow); Aberdeen Western Bypass; Second Forth Road Crossing; No Widening M1 (Sheffield)
(2) Transport news – 100 new roads in Local Transport Plans!; Roads programme will lead to 25% increase in traffic; Public Inquiries could be axed; Cost of road building soars; Costs of motoring fall; FoE transport website; 20's Plenty!; End the Body Count; Rail travel in Europe; ASA and Transport Watch; FoE climate website
(3) Take Action - Urgent - Stop Climate Chaos e-action; Letters to Southend protest camp; Glossop Spur Planning Application; Pre-budget report lobbying
(3) Events -
29 Nov - International Aviation Conference demonstration
3 Dec - International Demo against Climate Change
Dalkeith Northern Bypass (Midlothian)
Eco-warriors have taken to the trees in the historic Dalkeith park, in order to stop bat roosts being chopped over winter! Save Dalkeith Park campaigners will be walking the proposed route, which would destroy a large part of the park, on Sunday 6 November. There are other walks on November 8 (start 1.45pm) and November 15 (start 1pm). Campaigners will lobby the Scottish Parliament on November 24, and there is an e-petition to sign on the Scottish Parliament’s website. Three companies have been asked to bid for the £30 million contract. There are rumours that this scheme has now been prioritised now that the M74 extension has been delayed for a t least a year, due to the JAM74 / FoE Scotland legal challenge.
More info, and a link for the e-petition, at http://www.save-dalkeith-park.org.uk
Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon)
Devon County Council has been told by the Government Office for the South West it will not receive funding for the £80 million bypass, after granting itself planning permission for the road in August (see RB e-bulletin 30 Sept). The council is now talking about 'phasing in' the road, or reducing it to two lanes to reduce costs. Meanwhile, the Kingskerswell Alliance are launching a "It's time the lights went out in Kingskerswell" campaign, to get rid of the traffic lights. Parish councillor Paul Bright faces a standards board hearing on November 30, after being accused of failing to declare an interest by pro-bypass councillors. Apparently he lives too near the route to vote at meetings, not difficult if your home is in a small village. These are the usual tactics used to harass parish councillors who make a stand against road building. See http://www.kingskerswellalliance.org.uk
A127/A1159 Priory Crescent, Southend (Essex)
"Camp Bling" has now been in place for more than five weeks and protesters are working hard to get everything up and running for a winter stay (see RB bulletin 30 Sept). The camp started with two local residents, and now has up to a dozen people staying at any one time. Representatives from residents group Parklife and Road Block met with DfT officials recently to discuss the opposition to the scheme, and to influence the funding decision, expected in Spring 2006. Southend Borough Council are asking the government for £11.2 million for the 870-metre road. At the meeting, it was confirmed the council or the contractor would have to pay the full cost of any protests. Lots of help is needed if the camp's ambition of making this the most expensive protest camp in the UK is to come to fruition. Please write letters of support to the camp - see Take Action below.
For more info, visit: www.savepriorypark.org, and to contribute to the Bling Blog, see http://blingblog.bravejournal.com
Titnore Lane (Worthing)
Titnore Emergency Action (TEA) held a 'funeral for death of democracy' vigil
on the 29 Oct at Titnore Wood Site of Nature Conservation Importance, in Durrington,
Worthing, following the decision to cut down 210 trees as part of plans to
build 850 homes and a new link road to the already congested A27. The intention
was to occupy the wood, and start a protest camp. However, the local residents
were confronted by more than 60 police in riot gear, attempting to ban the
demonstration under the Public Order Act, with the heavy handed policing resulting
in one arrest. See http://www.protectourwoodland.fsnet.co.uk/
Weymouth Relief Road (Dorset)
A recent report by Dorset County Council revealed that costs for the road have leapt 41% to £77 million, and showed the desperate dirty tricks they will play to attempt to force the road through. Despite the Olympic bid being won without the road being included, the council are now claiming that the road is essential for the sailing part of the Olympics. They went before the Olympics transport inquiry and asked that the road be approved, whatever the ultimate cost, and that it need not have to be re-examined like other road schemes must be, as that would delay the scheme! They are also demanding that the Highways Agency pay an estimated £2 million for road 'improvements' to surrounding roads that will be swamped as a result of increased traffic from the 'relief' road! The deadline for objecting to the Planning Application has now passed with at least 500 objection letters having gone in.
This scheme is one of the most destructive in the roads programme. It would cause damage to the Ridgeway Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Southdown Ridge area Land of Local Landscape Importance, Dorset Wildlife Trust's Lorton Meadows SNCI Nature Reserve and Two Mile Coppice Ancient Woodland and would destroy the tranquillity of the surrounding countryside with high-speed traffic noise. The traffic noise would also 'adversely effect' 3000 homes.
A628 Mottram-Tintwistle bypass (Peak District)
The demo at the Peak District National Park Authority offices went very well, although the park authority are still refusing to support the CPRE report calling for a lorry ban through the National Park (see RB bulletins 30 Sept and 13 Oct). See http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/sheffield/2005/10/325632.html. Save Swallows Wood campaign was Campaign of the Week in the Guardian on 18 Oct - http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1594790,00.html.
The Highways Agency did some surprise destructive 'preparatory works' along
the route, but have stopped now. For more information on the Save Swallow's
Wood campaign against the A628 and to sign the online petition, please visit
Glossop Spur Road (Tameside)
Letters challenging the planning application for the Glossop Spur Road are needed urgently - deadline 21 November. If enough letters are sent in, there may have to be a public inquiry into this scheme. This is a very damaging scheme that will intersect farmland and be built across a floodplain as well as encouraging traffic growth and increasing pollution levels. The local council claim this road must be built alongside the Mottram Tintwistle Bypass, and are pushing hard for both schemes. Stopping progress on the Glossop Spur is essential for hindering progress on the A628 Mottram-Tintwistle scheme. For more details, visit the Take Action page of the RB website at http://www.roadblock.org.uk/action/glossopSpur.htm or e-mail Emma on .
Heysham - M6 Link (Lancaster)
At a council organised exhibition, it was revealed that Lancaster County Council have increased the height of the road at Torrisholme by a further 3 meters, passing by people's bedrooms! At previous exhibitions 76% who attended were against the road. David Gate, Chair of independent resident's group,Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe, said "No amount of fencing and shrubbery can disguise this monster dual carriageway powering its way through the centre of the community. There are 1,074 homes situated less than 200 metres away from the road along its route. Thousands of people will suffer exhaust fumes, noise, vibration, and light pollution". See www.heyshamm6link.info
M74 Extension (Glasgow)
This £500 million plus monstrosity is the happy recipient of architecture and design magazine Prospect's Carbuncle award, for the worst planning decision of the year. The award was made not only because of the massive visual intrusion of a six-lane motorway on stilts in some of Glasgow’s poorest areas, but because the scheme is in direct contradiction of a planning inspector’s recommendation it should not be built (see RB bulletin 25 March). Among the inspector’s concerns, all ignored by the Scottish Executive, were the road would increase pollution, contribute to climate change, sever communities, fail to relieve traffic congestion, and prevent the Executive from meeting its target of spending 70 per cent of its transport budget on public transport. The inquiry concluded the road scheme would create no more than 5,000 jobs, in stark contrast to the Executive’s and the CBI’s wild claims of 20,000 or more new jobs. This adds up to some £100,000 for every job created. Another award, this time recognising bad value for money, should be arriving in Glasgow sometime soon. JAM74 and FoE Scotland are legally challenging the Scottish Executive's decision and funds are urgently needed.
Aberdeen Western Bypass
Doctors and psychologists have warned decades of work at a special needs community could be lost if the proposed Aberdeen Western bypass is built in its grounds. One of the five proposed routes would pass less than 100 metres from the bedrooms of children with learning difficulties, and within 50 metres of where adults with special needs work. In an open letter to First Minister Jack McConnell, 25 doctors, psychologists, academics and mental health experts said more than 60 years of pioneering work at the Camphill Rudolf Steiner School would be threatened by the scheme. Scottish Transport Minister Tavish Scott is expected to give a decision early next month (see RB bulletin 26 August). See also www.stopthebypass.com
Second Forth Road Crossing
Labour MSP Scott Barrie sparked a small counter attack this week, when he suggested motorists risked being left without a road over the river Forth unless work started on planning a new bridge (see RB bulletin 17 June). The comments prompted Green Party MSP Mark Ballard to say the existing bridge was deteriorating because too many lorries and cars with one occupant were using it, while Lib Dem MSP Margaret Smith said a second bridge would reach its capacity by 2031. She asked: "What do we do then, build a third one?" Nice to see some common sense in Scottish politics. See http://www.forthrightalliance.org/
No Widening M1 (Sheffield)
No Widening M1 held a stall in Sheffield city centre on 5 November, and are going to be holding more. They collected lots of signatures to present to Sheffield City Council at their meeting on 4 January. The group are meeting with the Highways Agency at their office in Leeds next week. Please write to your MP to register your objection to the scheme and ask them to pass on your concerns to the Department for Transport. To get more involved see www.nowideningm1.org.uk or phone 07759 851073.
(2) TRANSPORT NEWS
100 new roads in Local Transport Plans!
Research by Road Block has shown that local authorities are proposing over 100 new roads in their provisional Local Transport Plans (LTPs). The LTPs are local authority transport plans for the next five years (2006-11). There are also at least 19 private developer roads. The final version of the LTP has to go to government in March 2006, so there is still time to get the roads thrown out of the LTP - contact Road Block for campaign ideas.
Roads programme will lead to 25% increase in traffic
Extensive research by the Liberal Democrats has shown that the Highways Agency are predicting that the 129 roads in their trunks roads programme will lead to an average 25% increase in traffic, and huge increases in CO2.
See http://libdems.org.uk/news/story.html?id=9209&navPage=news.html for the press release, and email for a list of trunk road schemes showing the traffic increase on each one. See also http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,6903,1604613,00.html
Public Inquiries could be axed
Very worrying noises are being made about reducing the scope of Public Inquiries, so that the decision to proceed is already taken by Parliament, with the inquiry simply examining details such as the colour of the lampposts... In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Alistair Darling, the Transport Secretary, said, "It is imperative we address ourselves to the issue of big infrastructure projects where there is an overwhelming national interest, there must be a better way of handling the planning system". Rod Eddington, the new 'transport czar', has been making similar noises. Road Block warned that this will make civil disobedience much more likely.
See http://www.transporttimes.co.uk/;news;item/1/20/ and http://www.roadblock.org.uk/press_releases/2005-10-18B.htm
Cost of road building soars
The cost of building one mile of motorway has risen to £28.1m. According to Transport Times magazine, government consultants are finalising the breakdown, but only in May this year Hansard quoted the bill as a mere £23m per mile.
Costs of motoring fall under Labour
Alistair Darling revealed in a Parliamentary written answer on 11 Oct that the real costs of motoring from 1997 to 2004 have fallen by 7%, while bus fares have risen by 11% and rail by 4%.
Friends of the Earth transport campaigners web resource
Friends of the Earth have launched a fantastic new resource for transport campaigners to enable you to get up to the minute information on what's happening in your area. With links for every Local Transport Plan in the country and to every council office!
Transport 2000 and Slower Speeds Initiative launched a 20's Plenty! campaign for default 20mph speed limit in most urban.
End the Body Count
It's time to show the Government that it is death and injury on our roads that is socially unacceptable, not speed limit enforcement. Please support this joint campaign by the Slower Speeds Initiative and RoadPeace by visiting www.slower-speeds.org.uk/endthebodycounts
Travel in Europe without trashing the planet!
See the excellent 'Man in Seat 61' website at http://seat61.com/ for comprehensive information on how to travel around Europe by rail, without flying. Send the link to all your family and friends!
ASA uphold complaint against 'Transport Watch' adverts
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld Railway Forum complaints against the accuracy of Transport Watch advertisements that appeared in both Private Eye and the New Statesman earlier this year. The adverts said that it would be more cost effective to convert railways to roads!
A new Friends of the Earth climate action website is full of really useful
briefings. See http://community.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate/index.html
1) URGENT - The Stop Climate Chaos coalition is coordinating an urgent e-action calling on Tony Blair to publicly state his support for legally binding targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, following the disturbing comments he has made recently - see http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,,1606644,00.html. The e-action will be hosted on the Stop Climate Chaos website and will be live on Monday 7 November. See www.stopclimatechaos.org.uk. Please forward to all your friends and family.
2) Letters to support Southend road protest camp
Write letters to "Camp Bling" at 1 King's Burial, Priory Crescent, Southend on Sea, Essex, SS2 6JZ
3) Glossop Spur Planning Application
Please write letters now! See http://www.roadblock.org.uk/action/glossopSpur.htm
4) 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.
Click here - http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/transport/press_for_change/prebudget05/index.html - 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
29 Nov - International Aviation Conference demonstration
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 http://www.planestupid.com/
3 Dec - International Demonstrations on Climate Change
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.