Alliance against road building
Alliance against road building
Welcome to the Road Block e-bulletin, rounding up the latest roads campaign
and transport news. The next e-bulletin deadline is 14 December, so please
send us your campaign news before then. Road Block relies on donations to
keep going; please consider setting up a small Standing Order.
Details are here: http://www.roadblock.org.uk/givemoney.htm
(1) Campaign updates – Thames Gateway Bridge(London); Weymouth Relief Road (Dorset); A36 Codford to Heytesbury Improvement; M11 widening; Dalkeith Northern Bypass (Midlothian); A14 Fen Ditton - Ellington (Cambs); Tyne tunnel; M6 Expressway (Staffordshire); M25 DBFO; M1 widening - Milton Keynes (Bedfordshire); No Widening M1 - Sheffield; Glossop Spur Road (Tameside); Heysham - M6 Link (Lancaster); Tunstall Northern Bypass (Stoke); Lincoln Southern Bypass; Solent Transport Activists Roundtable
(2) Transport and climate news – Regional Funding Allocations (RFA) - stopping roads; NGOs urge Blair to stick to CO2 targets; Major Schemes in Local Transport Plans; Free training for local groups; Biofuels; FoE transport website; Amec won't build roads!
(3) Take Action - Urgent - Stop Climate Chaos e-action; Letters to Southend protest camp; Glossop Spur Planning Application; development aid and oil
(3) Events -
29 Nov - International Aviation Conference demonstration
3 Dec - International Demo against Climate Change
(1) CAMPAIGN NEWS
Thames Gateway Bridge (London)
The case for this huge London motorway bridge is falling apart. On 11 Nov
Transport for London (TfL) submitted dramatic new evidence to the 5 month
old Public Inquiry. They have finally admitted what Objectors have been saying
all along, that all the out dated traffic modelling relied on at the Public
Inquiry so far has been wrong. They have admitted that traffic growth in the
area is far higher than previously asserted, and the modelling is having to
be re done! TfL are now re-modelling the traffic forecasts, and reappraising
the environmental and economic case for the road! They have until the end
of Dec to do this, when the Inquiry will adjourn until 31 January 2006.
Weymouth Relief Road (Dorset)
The Planning Application resulted in over 1000 objections, with objections also coming from the Countryside Agency, Environment Agency and English Nature. Dorset County Council stated in a council report that costs have leapt 41% to £77 million. However in an appearance before the Transport Select Committee into the Olympics, where they pleaded the road is essential for the sailing part of the Olympics (despite the fact that the Olympic bid was won without the road being mentioned!) they claimed that £100 million was needed. This scheme is one of the most destructive in the roads programme, damaging an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and many nature reserves, and the setting of the largest cluster of barrows in Europe. The traffic noise would also 'adversely effect' 3000 homes. See also Regional Funding Allocation report below.
A36 Codford to Heytesbury Improvement - rejected! (Wiltshire)
This scheme was rejected for funding by the government in December 2004. However roads-mad Wiltshire County Council demanded a review of the decision. With the review recently completed, the government has said that this road is still poor value for money. They also criticised the council for understating the amount of environmental damage the road would cause. Well done to the A36 / A350 Corridor Alliance!
M11 widening - rejected!
There was an unexpected u-turn over plans to widen the M11, junctions 8-9, north of Bishop's Stortford, which was considered crucial to plans for the expansion of Stanstead airport and major housing plans. In a letter to the inquiry into the East of England regional plan, the DfT confirmed it has abandoned the £171m upgrade for at least another decade. A DfT spokeswoman said: "Ministers have asked the Highways Agency to continue to monitor traffic conditions on the M11 and to investigate further whether smaller scale improvements may be justified in the shorter term.". A question mark has also been placed against M11 widening between junctions 9-14.
Dalkeith Northern Bypass (Midlothian)
Protesters mounting a ‘tree-sit’ on the route have urged supporters to come and help, after a judge at Edinburgh Sheriff’s Court granted an immediate eviction order on 25 Nov. No lawyer could be found to represent the protesters at the hearing, in the case brought by the Scottish Parliament. Evictions could now take place any time. Work on the proposed road is supposed to start mid-2006, but felling is being done early to avoid regulations supposed to protect nesting birds and bats. The road would cut wildlife habitat in historic 850-acre Dalkeith Park in two (see RB bulletin 5 Nov), and was also condemned in the 1999 Strategic Road Review for "generally negative ratings in the other environmental factors, including global air quality, water, ecology, visual impacts, heritage, and landscape character". Three companies have been asked to bid for the £30 million contract - Laing O'Rourke, Morgan Est and Morrison / Hochtief.
A14 Fen Ditton - Ellington (Cambs)
The A14 Action Group at Offords applied to the High Court for permission to Judicially Review the DfT for failing to consult on a major change of route for this huge £490 million scheme. They won round one and were granted permission, although the deputy judge was not willing to rule on whether campaigners were in time. There will be a full hearing the week beginning 17 December (precise date to be decided). See http://www.offordsa14actiongroup.co.uk/
A legal challenge is being taken by local resident Bryan Atkinson, questioning the adequacy of the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authority's Environmental Appraisal, in particular with regard to the disposal of spoil from the excavations of the Tyne tunnel. The matter was raised at the Public Inquiry but in the view of Mr Atkinson and the legal team it was not adequately addressed in the Minister's decision. No date has been set yet for the hearing. See http://www.tyne-crossings.org/
M6 widening / M6 Expressway (Staffordshire)
Roads Minister, Stephen Ladyman, is visiting Stafford on 30 November at the invitation of David Kidney MP to discuss the M6 Expressway. Environmental activists will be meeting him, including representatives from Group Against Motorway Expansion (GAME), CPRE, and FoE, who will be putting the case against either motorway widening or a new toll road. See http://nom6e.blogspot.com/
M25 DBFO contract
The Highways Agency is to let out the maintenance and operation of London's orbital motorway in a 30-year contract worth £100m a year. The contract will cover the phased widening of 63 miles of the 118-mile motorway from three to four lanes in each direction, which will probably be worth £1.5bn. The project is being offered as a single DBFO (Design, Build, Finance and Operate) contract. The contract will also cover the operation and maintenance of the whole of the M25 and parts of the motorways and other strategic routes that intersect it, and for operating the Dartford River Crossing.
M1 widening - Milton Keynes (Bedfordshire)
The Highways Agency has been holding up Prescott's housing expansion of Milton Keynes. They have put an article 14 'stopping' notices on several major planning applications because they would add extra traffic to the M1 and the motorway and/or junctions would not cope. The article 14 notice forbids the council from giving planning permission until motorway/junction capacity is increased. There is currently an application for funds to upgrade M1 J14 with ODPM/DfT. It is expected to be approved in the next few weeks and the article 14 notices will then be lifted.
No Widening M1 - Sheffield
There will be a debate with the No Widening M1 campaign and the Highways Agency at Rotherham Environment Forum on 29th November. The campaign also leafleted and got lots of petition signatures at a We Want our Buses Back demo in Sheffield City Centre. The Nottingham group have had their first meeting and strategies are being planned... Please contact the contractors who are bidding for the scheme, and tell them what you think!
To get more involved see www.nowideningm1.org.uk or phone 07759 851073
Glossop Spur Road (Tameside)
Campaigners against this scheme have been discovering how hard it is to fight a Planning Application for a major road scheme. There are over 1000 pages to read, all within the minimum period of 21 days! The information has not been accessible, and the Environmental Statement would cost £1360! Or £37 for a CD, which was not available for the first two weeks. Although the deadline for objections to the Planning Application has now past, objections will still be accepted up to the 14 Dec (when the application is likely to go to the planning hearing). Please write if you haven't already done so.
See http://www.roadblock.org.uk/action/glossopSpur.htm or email Emma on for a comprehensive list of objections and details about where to send them. See also RB e-bulletin 5 Nov.
Heysham - M6 Link (Lancaster)
After major criticism from local people, Lancashire County Council recently exhibited their revised plans for the Heysham M6 Link at Torrisholme. Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe (TSLM) prepared computer simulated views, to give residents an idea of what the planners from Preston now have in mind for them. This quiet leafy suburb will be transformed by a 26ft high concrete rampart cutting straight through the community, carrying noisy and polluting heavy goods vehicles to Heysham Port. TSLM took photographs along the route, and superimposed a 26 ft high bridge from another part of the County. Several local papers showed the dramatic pictures, and even an LCC spokesman admitted "The design was a fair representation..." See www.heyshamm6link.info
Tunstall Northern Bypass (Stoke)
Local campaigners took the government and Stoke council to court on 10 Nov, about an illegal planning permission for the scheme. Although the judges ruled that the government had not acted illegally, they have yet to rule on whether the council have acted illegally. A decision is expected soon. Meanwhile, the council didn't bother to wait for the judge's ruling, and awarded a £10 million contract for the final phase of the Tunstall bypass to contractors Birse. See http://spaces.msn.com/members/tunstall
Lincoln Southern Bypass
A campaign (WASBO - Waddington Against Southern Bypass Option) started up
on 30 Sept against this new road scheme, with 300 people present at the first
meeting. The Parish Council have voted to fully support the WASBO campaign,
and local MP Douglas Hogg is supporting an alternative route away from the
village. The road would bisect the village of Waddington.
Solent Transport Activists Roundtable
A Solent Transport Activists Roundtable (TAR) will be formed at an inaugural meeting on Saturday 28 Jan 2006, from 2pm in Fareham, Hampshire. Contact
Regional Funding Allocations (RFA) - make sure regional transport cash goes to public transport not roads!
Pay attention... this is not as boring as it sounds, but will dramatically effect where transport policy goes for up to 10 years! The government has asked 'the regions' to tell it how they would like to spend their regional funding allocations (RFAs). There are limited amounts of money available, and each region is having to prioritise all their proposed transport schemes, which means that public transport schemes are having to compete directly against huge expensive roads. The advice from the regions has to go to the government by the end of January.
Currently, across the country there is a lot of heavy lobbying going on as the first priority lists are emerging. Excellent campaigning in the South West ensured that a number of road schemes (including Weymouth, Salisbury, Westbury, Kingskerswell, St Austell) have been left out of the latest draft... Please contact your nearest Transport Activists Roundtable (TAR) to find out how you can help influence this process.
North West TAR:
North East TAR:
Yorkshire and Humber TAR:
West Midlands TAR:
East Midlands TAR:
East of England TAR:
South East TAR:
South West TAR:
NGOs urge Blair to stick to CO2 targets
In this critical fortnight as the UN climate talks are taking place, the Stop Climate Chaos coalition have called on all the millions of people who are members of the coalition organisations to email Blair urging to stick to climate targets and treaties. The coalition includes WWF, RSPB, Women's Institute, Oxfam, Christian Aid, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, People and Planet, Road Block and many more. Tony Blair needs to hear the message loud and clear that going soft on climate change action is not acceptable.
Please email him by visiting http://stopclimatechaos.org.uk/lobby.asp
Major Schemes in Local Transport Plans
Atkins have produced a report on 67 provisional LTP2s at http://www.ltpnetwork.gov.uk/Documents/Document/Review_of_PLTP2s___Final_Version%5B1%5D.pdf
There are £5.89 billion worth of Major Schemes in those 67 , but the Treasury has said "only" £3.8 billion is available.
Free training for local groups
Seeds for Change is a collective of experienced activist-trainers that works with local campaign groups to help you organise for positive change and successful action. We offer free workshops on * Planning your campaign strategy * Working with the media * Having effective meetings * Consensus decision making * Preparing for nonviolent direct action * Setting up dynamic action groups * and more...
For more info contact , , or see http://www.seedsforchange.org.uk/free
The government announced that by 2010, 5% of fuels would come from biofuels in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions. However on the same day they also released figures that show that traffic is still rising. Unfortunately the growth in traffic would outstrip any gains made by using biofuels.
See http://www.roadblock.org.uk/press_releases/2005-11-10.htm for the Road Block press release, and http://www.dft.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2005_0117 for the DfT release.
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! See http://community.foe.co.uk/campaigns/transport/index.html
Amec won't build roads!
Amec said it wanted to stop building roads in Britain because of the complicated relationship with the Department for Transport and a decline in the number of contracts. "It is not difficult to build a road but it is difficult to get clear contract specifications," said Sir Peter Mason, chief executive of Amec. See http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,16781,1650334,00.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, during the UN climate talks in Montreal. See http://stopclimatechaos.org.uk/news_pr_detail.asp?id=11 . 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) Take action on development aid and oil
Please write to your MP asking them to sign Early Day Motion (EDM) 407 - Development Aid for Oil. The EDM calls on the Government to end support for harmful fossil fuel subsidies given through international financial institutions such as the World Bank, and instead pioneer investment in sustainable energy. Sample letters and further info about the issues and the EDM can be found on www.planb.org , or send an email via the Friends of the Earth website: www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/corporates/press_for_change/oil_edm/
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 http://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.campaigncc.org