Alliance against road building

Road Block e-bulletin * 8th April 2005


(1) Campaign updates – Thames Gateway motorway bridge (London); Lancaster Bypass (Lancashire); M74 (Glasgow); A47 Acle Straight (Norfolk); A27 Southerham to Beddingham trunk road scheme (Sussex), A14 Ellington - Fen Ditton (Cambs)
(2) Transport news – Make sure local authorities assess alternatives to roads; Highways Agency say road building doesn't work!; House of Commons Committee recommends pricing to tackle congestion; M6 Toll
(3) Events - Streets for People Training Day; Roads and Runways Direct Action Gathering
(4) Climate - G8 Climate Counter Summit; 8th July G8 Day of Action
(5) BBC Charter Review - Scrap Top Gear and ask for better programmes on transport!


Thames Gateway motorway pre-inquiry meeting ends in chaos

The Thames Gateway Bridge pre-Inquiry meeting on Monday 4th April ended in chaos, as uproar broke out when the Inspector refused Objectors’ proposals that the Inquiry (due to start 7th June) should be postponed due to lack of proper consultation and the shambolic way the Inquiry has been arranged so far. To cries of ‘shame’ and ‘fix’ the Inspector’s microphone was seized and both Inspectors walked out, leaving confusion about how the inquiry would proceed as most of the meeting agenda was unfinished. Groups are now asking John Prescott, who called the scheme in, to rule on whether the pre-Inquiry meeting should be reconvened, and the Inquiry postponed.

Objectors expressed concerns that many residents had not even been informed or consulted, with many not even aware that a motorway may come their way. They were also concerned that the Inquiry is being fast-tracked, with Objectors not being given enough time to prepare their case, and that some Objectors have been given a higher status than others. The Inspector also had the wrong papers supplied to him by Transport for London! See RB press release on our website.

Lancaster Northern Bypass/Heysham M6 Link Road

The campaign against the scheme is hotting up. After the initial launch meeting, which was attended by over 80 people, the follow up meeting attracted over 250 people with the Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe (TSLM) group launched. They have also launched a superb new website – see

M74 (Glasgow)

Following the Scottish Executive outrageously overturning the Inspector's decision to reject the motorway, the JAM74 campaign are looking at taking legal action, and direct action. You'll see them at the G8 protests in July. See

A47 Acle Straight

This road is one of the most ecologically destructive planned, as it would devastate the Norfolk Broads. The long-awaited Environmental Statement should now be placed in the Commons Library. The Norwich to Great Yarmouth roads-based study rejected dualling because it would lead to large or very large adverse impacts on landscape, biodiversity and heritage. Dualling is also opposed by the Government’s statutory advisory bodies, English Nature, Environment Agency, Countryside Agency and also by the Broads Authority.

A27 Southerham to Beddingham trunk road scheme

The A27 Action Group believes the scheme would significantly damage the landscape of the Area of Outstanding National Beauty and the South Downs. The Group is also calling for area-wide road user charging to be introduced as soon as possible to address traffic growth and congestion. The deadline for responses to draft orders and the environmental statement for the scheme was on 31st March.

A14 Ellington - Fen Ditton

A consultation has just started into the enormous £492 million scheme that will pass through open countryside around Huntingdon and Cambridge. It is part of the Trans-European Network and is a strategic route from Felixstow to the M1. Campaigners argue that most of the traffic on it is local, and that the housing growth planned for the area will make the road an enormous waste of money when it fills up. To reduce traffic and accidents, road safety and demand management measures should be tried first, and road user charging.

Have your say at and for more on the scheme see


Making sure alternatives to roads are looked at

For too long, Local Authorities have got away with not coming up with alternatives to road building, and the Government has let them get away with it… It is time to turn that around! For those opposing Local Authority road schemes, the DfT have just published draft guidance to local authorities seeking Government funding for Major Schemes -

The guidance requires local authorities to demonstrate that they have assessed alternatives. This guidance can be used as a campaigning tool, and Road Block can help you use it. We also have free copies of the Local Transport Plan (LTP) Guidance for groups opposing local road schemes that their Council are planning. Please contact us for a copy. We also have free copies of the Appraisal guidelines (TAG Unit 1.4). Road Block is producing a beginner’s guide to the appraisal of road schemes, which should be available soon.

Highways Agency say new road building won't work in the Growth Areas!

The Highways Agency have released a report that predicts that, even if 60 road schemes in the East of England region are built, the rise in traffic will outstrip the growth in capacity, because of all the housing planned for the area. Instead they propose "area-wide road user charging". See,,174-1550072,00.html

House of Commons Committee recommends road pricing to tackle congestion

A new report from the House of Commons Transport Committee found that road pricing is the measure with the most potential to reduce road congestion. ‘Road Pricing: The Next Steps’, published on 24th March, suggests a phased introduction of small-scale charging schemes on trunk roads and in urban areas.

M6 Toll

Midland Expressway Limited (MEL) reported at the beginning of April that average daily traffic on the M6 Toll for March 2005 was 45,961 - up 16 per cent on March 2004 and 7.09 per cent on February 2005. The 15 month report is coming out in the Summer.


Streets for People Training Day

This one day motivational and training event will take place on 16th April, 10-4pm. Road Block will be there, holding a workshop on direct action on traffic and transport issues. To book contact

Roads and Runways Direct Action gathering

There will be a follow up gathering to discuss future direct action against roads and runways expansion, on 7-8th May, in Nottingham. The last one was fantastic - come and make things happen... Contact .

(4) G8 Climate Counter Summit and 8th July Day of Action

The G8 Energy and Environment Ministers’ meeting in London in March was met with a noise demonstration from Rising Tide and others concerned about climate change. Meanwhile, an exciting range of ideas were put forward at the G8 Climate Counter Summit held the evening before. A follow up meeting for anyone interested in networking, campaigning and planning for the action on climate change around the G8 is happening on 18th April at 7pm at Rampart, 15 Rampart Street, London E1 (nearest tube - Whitechapel). See

Watch this space for plans for diverse actions in Scotland and around the country on the 8th of July, the International Day of Action on the Root Causes of Climate Change. To find out more sign up to the G8 climate action email list at

(5) BBC Charter Review - scrap Top Gear, and ask for better transport programmes!

The BBC Charter is up for renewal and provides an opportunity to comment on programme content - for example, to call for more balanced reporting on transport and for the BBC to play an important role in educating the public about sustainability issues. Email your comments to or fill in the on-line questionnaire at