Alliance against road building
Alliance against road building
Welcome back to the Road Block e-bulletin. Big action this month - Road
Block has printed 1000's of postcards to send to the transport minister
asking him to scrap the road programme as it is fuelling traffic growth
and climate change. Please send a SAE to Road Block (address at end of e-bulletin)
and state how many you would like, get them signed and post them back to
us to send onto the minister. We need to get the message out loud and clear
to the government that roadbuilding fuels climate change.
If any web links don't work, simply cut and paste them into your address bar. To get any background on any campaigns, please type the campaign or road name into the search engine on the front page of the Road Block website - http://www.roadblock.org.uk/ . Supporters of Road Block can donate here http://www.roadblock.org.uk/givemoney.htm
We promise to deliver very good value for money, unlike the Department for Transport!
(1) Transport and climate news
* Climate March and I Count rally
* Ministers getting confused about roads
* Transport in the Budget
* Eddington Review
* New Roads and CO2 guidance
* Killer Newbury Bypass
* Cycling and walking better value for money than roads
* Roads lobby on the offensive
* Department for Communities and Local Government funding roads
* Freedom of Information under threat!
(2) Campaign updates
* M1 Widening
* Westbury Bypass (Wiltshire)
* A14 Fen Ditton – Ellington (Cambridgeshire)
* Edge Lane West, Liverpool
* Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon)
* Connecting Derby
* Titnore Lane (Sussex)
* M74 (Glasgow)
* South Bristol Ring Road
* Southend Priory Crescent (Essex)
* Tunstall Northern Bypass (Stoke)
* Long Stratton Bypass (Norfolk)
* A63 Osgodby Bypass
* Chelmsford North East Bypass
* Harlow North
* Bexhill to Hastings Link Road (Sussex)
* Brunel Link / Harnham Relief Road (Salisbury, Wiltshire)
* A303 Stonehenge (Wiltshire)
* M25 Widening
(1) TRANSPORT AND CLIMATE NEWS
Climate March and I Count rally in London - Saturday 4 Nov
We'll be seeing you all no doubt at the Climate March and I Count rally in London on 4 Nov. These will be the biggest climate events in the UK ever, and you must come! The March will start from the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square from 12pm with music and speeches, then move off at 1pm to join the I Count rally in Trafalgar Square. The I Count event will run from 1-3pm. Road Block has printed 1000's of postcards to send to the Transport Minister to say "Roadbuilding fuels climate change - end roadbuilding" but we need your help getting them signed. Look out for the big Road Block banner on the day, or please contact Road Block at if you would like to help. For more details on the events, see http://www.campaigncc.org/ and http://www.icount.org.uk/events/ . Road Block is a member of I Count. Sign up to the I Count pledge here - http://www.icount.org.uk/
Ministers get confused about whether roads are a good thing or not!
In an interview with the Birmingham Post about road pricing, Roads Minister Dr Stephen Ladyman said that "there simply was not enough room to build new roads" and that we had to manage demand for cars. However before you think we can all pack up as the government has finally given up and has cancelled the roads programme, take a look at this collection of statements, collected by Road Block - http://www.roadblock.org.uk/statements.htm. This would be funny if it weren't true, as it shows the complete inconsistency of transport ministers, and even the PM himself when it comes to roads. One minute they will be saying how impossible it is to build our way out of congestion, and then they'll be boasting about all the roadbuilding they are doing!
Transport in the Budget
The Pre-Budget Report (PBR) will be announced on Monday 27 Nov (it is rumoured). This is traditionally when the Chancellor announces that fuel tax will not rise in line with inflation. However with the Stern climate change report, and the talk of increasing the cost of motoring and flying, this could all change... Email the Treasury and ask them to increase the cost of motoring and to invest the money raised into alternatives that get people out of their cars:
The long awaited review of long term future transport strategy by Sir Rod Eddington (ex CEO of British Airways - see RB bulletins 6 May and 30 Sept 05) will be published on 27 Nov, the same time as the Pre-Budget Report (see above). Expect lots of calls for infrastructure, a low priority to climate change and the environment, and calls for the planning system to be 'speeded up' - i.e cutting the time for the public to object.
New Roads and CO2 guidance
New guidance has been issued by the Department for Transport that requires a price to be put on CO2 emissions for the next 60 years when assessing the impact of a new road. The guidance only applies to new roads after 1 Jan 2007. It has yet to be seen whether it can dent the DfT's heavily skewed cost-benefit calculations which so greatly values minutes off a motorist's journey time. See http://www.webtag.org.uk/webdocuments/3_Expert/3_Environment_Objective/pdf/3.3.5.pdf
Killer Newbury Bypass
The Highways Agency Five Year Study of the Newbury Bypass has showed that the scheme has increased accidents. When the £105 million road was being planned, the Department for Transport predicted there would be a 47 per cent long term cut in road deaths. But instead there was a 67 per cent increase in fatalities in the five years following the opening of the bypass in November 1998. Serious non-fatal crashes also increased. This is a heavy price to pay for shaving minutes of motorist's journeys. The HA Study also showed that there has been no assessment of the CO2 impacts of the Newbury Bypass and that key documents have been 'lost' such as the Inspector's Report, and the noise impact and the landscape impact reports. See http://www.cpre.org.uk/news-releases/news-rel-2006/51-06.htm
How cycling and walking can save the NHS and the Treasury money
Research published by sustainable transport charity Sustrans has shown the economic benefits of a number of local walking and cycling schemes demonstrate that every £1 spent on a route generates a benefit worth £20. This is compared to the slimmer average return of other transport schemes such as rail and roads, which is typically £3 for every £1 spent. Sustrans used the same appraisal process applied to road schemes, and found that cycling and walking schemes are far better value for money.
Roads lobby on the offensive
On 11 Sept a very biased and inaccurate whole page of coverage was devoted in the Times to regurgitating a Road Users Alliance 'report' which called for more roadbuilding. The 'Alliance' is actually a front group for the roads lobby, with half its members coming from the construction, aggregates, bitumen, and oil (including Exxon Mobile) industries. Road Block has complained about the Times article but received only a very defensive reply which did not answer most of the points raised. Hot on its heels was an equally biased and inaccurate item on the BBC Politics Show on 1 Oct about 'lack of roadbuilding', but which did not include a single anti-road voice. Road Block has also complained about this item here - http://www.roadblock.org.uk/documents/Complaint%20to%20BBC%20Politics%20Show.pdf but has only received very dismissive responses from the BBC. Then the Daily Mail topped it off on the 12 Oct with another article which quoted verbatim from the RUA, but with no opposing voice. Road Block wrote a letter in response, but it was not published by the Mail.
Department for Communities and Local Government funding roads
Peterborough City Council has been awarded £5.85 million for roadbuilding through the Department for Communities and Local Government's Growth Area Funding (GAF). The cash will be used to dual an existing single lane carriageway as well as funding a study into further dualling to the northern end of Peterborough. DCLG have also put £82 million into roadbuilding via the Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF).
Freedom of Information under threat!
Do you use the Freedom of Information Act? Road Block does, and so do lots of roads campaigners, journalists, and researchers. Road Block finds it essential to find information that is not in the public domain and we have to put in a large number of inquiries to receive the information we need. However the government is apparently considering changing the FOI rules so that there is a strict cost limit on the numbers of questions you are allowed to ask. Road Block believes that as long as the questions are not frivolous, then there should be no limit on freedom of information. The Campaign for Freedom of Information have an Early Day Motion tabled to persuade MPs to oppose the proposed changes. Please get your MP to sign. See http://www.cfoi.org.uk/edm2699.html
(2) CAMPAIGN NEWS
No Widening M1
Community groups who are part of the No Widening M1 Alliance hung banners across M1 bridges at Luton, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield on the day of the Stern report publication (30 Oct) to show the link between M1 widening and climate change. Their actions received fantastic regional and local media coverage and the banners would have been seen by 1000's of motorists. To see great photos go here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/m1oct30 and see http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/10/354723.html for a write up.
Westbury Bypass (Wiltshire)
Consultants investigating the impact of the Westbury Eastern Bypass have discovered a staggering 13 of Britain's 17 bat species, including all four scheduled for special protection in Annex II of the European Habitats Directive. This makes it one of the richest areas for bats in the south-west, and possibly in the country. The bats were found in the Wellhead Valley, near the famous Westbury White Horse. The road would run through 4 km of untouched countryside close to the Salisbury Plain. There are also Barn Owls, Water Voles, Hobbys and Great Crested Newts, and several species of UK “red listed” birds. Meanwhile, costs on the scheme have risen from £26 million to £31million.
A14 Fen Ditton – Ellington (Cambridgeshire)
An incredible victory for the brave campaigners against the Highways Agency's huge £500 million scheme as the Highways Agency have settled te legal case. The Highways Agency has been forced to back down at the last minute before an Appeal at the Court of Appeal and pay all the costs of the other side. The Appeal was to have centred on how the Highways Agency had not followed its own consultation processes. They will now have to go back to the drawing board and reconsult on all the options. See http://www.offordsa14actiongroup.co.uk/
Edge Lane West (Liverpool)
Local resident Elizabeth Pascoe has won her case against the Pathfinder and Edge Lane West scheme which would have demolished her home (see RB bulletin 31 Aug 06). See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/5384472.stm
Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon)
Local campaigners in the Kingskerswell Alliance have discovered that the road is predicted to increase CO2 by 18 per cent on the year of opening. Devon County Council are preparing to submit a bid for funding to the DfT shortly which will be fought closely by the Alliance. We shall wait and see if the DfT hold to their statement that there should be an "assumption that there are no new majors [schemes]" in the LTP2 period (2006-11).
Local resident Richard Butler has been busy fighting council plans to build
a ring road over his garden by selling off plots of land to friends all
over the world in an attempt to derail the process. See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/09/04/do0404.xml
Titnore Lane (Sussex)
On 20 Sept Worthing Council announced they were considering dropping the road widening part of the development, although the housing would still go ahead. Body Shop founder Dame Anita Roddick is now supporting the Titnore Lane treetop protest. The camp has been there for over five months preventing the destruction of ancient woodland to enable road widening and an access to a massive development. The protest camp which now covers about a acre of woodland comprises of benders, treehouses and platforms of all shapes and sizes with some treehouses 70 feet above ground and on 3 levels. A further request for a Public Inquiry into the development has been handed to Ruth Kelly Secretary of State for the Communities by the local MP Peter Bottomley. Finally a request has gone out for donations to support the camp over the winter. Details at: http://www.protectourwoodland.co.uk/wishlist.htm
Only one contractor has bid for the £500 million motorway through Glasgow which could be illegal under EU tendering laws. How can they ensure they have good value for money if only group bids? This scheme is highly controversial, having already been rejected by an Inquiry Inspector (see RB bulletin 13 Oct 05). See http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/10/353145.html and http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=974&id=1498522006
South Bristol Ring Road
The Alliance Against the South Bristol Ring Road (comprising three community groups currently) launched on 4 Sept with lots of media coverage. The group then held a successful sponsored bike ride and walk on 24 Sept. The road scheme has never been consulted on, yet has already been made a 'regional priority' (see RB bulletin 18 April 06). See http://www.southbristolringroad.co.uk/
Priory Crescent, Southend (Essex)
"Camp Bling" recently celebrated it's first anniversary and first full year of successful site occupation on the route of the controversial A127/A1159 Priory Crescent scheme. Lots of new construction work is underway as the camp expands, and prepares for a second winter in the trees. Meanwhile public engagement, and lobbying of both Cabinet ministers and the DfT continues, whilst waiting for the government funding decision for the scheme. The camp would welcome visitors - see http://www.savepriorypark.org for all the latest.
Tunstall Northern Bypass (Stoke)
Unfortunately the government have given the final go ahead to the Tunstall Northern Bypass on 26 Oct, after a long and bitter fight by Friends of Scotia Valley. Direct action is being considered. See http://tunstall.spaces.live.com/ if you would like to get involved.
Long Stratton Bypass (Norfolk)
As the region did not prioritise this road scheme, the DfT are refusing to grant the Compulsory Purchase Orders (despite a recommendation by an Inquiry Inspector to grant them) as there is no chance of the scheme being funded any other way. This is a first as far as Road Block is aware.
A63 Osgodby Bypass
The Highways Agency have unusually dropped this scheme due to "significant increase in land prices and in the cost of carrying out the work since the public inquiry was held" and will instead put in place small scale improvements instead. As far as Road Block knows this is a first.
Chelmsford North East Bypass
Essex Country Council are pushing ahead with this road scheme "just in case", despite it not being chosen as a regional priority by the East of England Regional Assembly and therefore won't have any government funding for the next ten years. Local people fear it may be paid for by private developers with huge housing expansion, and have formed the DROP group.
STOP Harlow North campaign group have published an exciting report on proposals for the area north of Harlow as "actively managed countryside" with the suggested name of Gilston Great Park. This is instead of a massive new housing development and a new road. See http://www.stopharlownorth.com/
Bexhill to Hastings Link Road (Sussex)
Sussex County Council have been distributing a dodgy leaflet which fails to mention that the roads will lead to more, not less, traffic in Hastings and Bexhill, and in doing so will dump an extra annual 5,426 tonnes of greenhouse gas CO2 into the atmosphere. Meanwhile the Hastings Alliance have commissioned leading transport expert Denvil Coombe to examine whether alternatives to the Link Road have been adequately considered or not. See http://www.roadblock.org.uk/action.htm
Brunel Link / Harnham Relief Road (Salisbury, Wiltshire)
Salisbury Transport 2000 have complained to Wiltshire County Council about the massive waste of money in pursuing this road scheme for years. After bungling two expensive planning applications, and running into endless environmental obstacles and local opposition, Wiltshire County Council have been forced to withdraw the scheme after it was not prioritised by the South West region and the government. If they don't get satisfactory answers the nest step will be the Audit Commission.
A303 Stonehenge (Wiltshire)
Still no decision on the deeply unpopular five options the Highways Agency have put on the table. Meanwhile Heritage Action have launched a campaign for "Achievable Stonehenge" which closes off the A344 which goes right next to the stone circle. See http://www.heritageaction.org/?page=heritagealerts_stonehenge
The private finance DBFO contract for the M25 widening has been narrowed down to three bidders. The contract is costed at £5 billion for just 63 miles. See http://www.highways.gov.uk/news/newsroom.aspx?newsid=17787761 .
National climate march on 4 Nov. Cycle protest starting at 10am, rally at the US Embassy at 12pm, march to join the main demonstration at Trafalgar Square at 2pm. See Campaign against Climate Change at http://www.campaigncc.org.
Stop Climate Chaos mass event on 4 November in central London. See http://www.icount.org.uk/
(4) TAKE ACTION - http://www.roadblock.org.uk/action.htm
Tell the Transport Minister to end the roads programme. Road Block has printed 1000s of postcards to send to Douglas Alexander telling him that roadbuilding fuels climate change. We need help getting them signed. Either come to the Climate March and Rally to help us get them signed, or please send us an SAE telling us how many you would like. Write to us at: Road Block, 12-18 Hoxton St, LONDON, N1 6NG.
Email HM Treasury directly and ask them to increase the price of motoring to tackle climate change -
Object to the M1 widening by emailing Transport Minister, Douglas Alexander, with a standard letter directly from here:
Object to the Mottram Tintwistle Bypass by sending a standard letter from http://www.saveswallowswood.org.uk/
Object to the Heysham M6 Link (Lancaster) Planning Application - http://heyshamm6link.info/html/archive.html#object