Alliance against road building

Road Block e-bulletin * 2nd June 2005

General info on Road Block can be found at


(1) Campaign updates – Thames Gateway Bridge (London); A327 Brookers Hill / Cutbush Lane (Shinfield, Berkshire); Mottram / Tintwistle Bypass (Peak District); Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon).

(2) Transport news – Gwyneth Dunwoody; transport emissions cover up; appraisal guidance briefing available; great arguments to help fight roads; M6 Toll drive for charity; National Lift Share Day; Living Streets; rail closures in Stoke

(3) Climate Change and Transport – More cake Darling; G-8 climate day of action; the Big Ask, Art not Oil



Thames Gateway Bridge (London)

Campaigners will be demonstrating outside Charlton Athletic FC’s ground on Tuesday (7th June), when the public inquiry into this monster project opens. Transport for London (TfL) and other supports will give evidence from 7th June. The inquiry will them adjourn until 13th September, when objectors will be heard. See for the local campaign website.

A327 Brookers Hill / Cutbush Lane (Shinfield, Berkshire)

A 200-year-old oak tree at Shinfield, Berkshire, got the ecological equivalent of the midnight knock on the door on 1 June, when contractors working for David Wilson Homes moved in at 4am. Instead of being felled carefully to protect wildlife, as Wokingham District Council had promised, the tree was cut down and shredded, to the tune of the dawn chorus. Local residents had managed to stop the tree being felled in February and again in March (see RB bulletin 25th March and 25th February) but not this time… Meanwhile, mature hedgerows were being ripped-up as this e-bulletin was being written. The tree was unfortunate enough to be standing in the way of a new private road and 164 new homes, being built on land owned by the University of Reading. The university has recently applied for planning permission for a Shinfield Eastern Bypass, which it says is needed to relieve congestion but we think might have more to do with building another 2,500 homes on the green belt around Shinfield. This will resisted.

Mottram / Tintwistle Bypass (Peak District)

Thanks to Lib Dem transport spokesman Tom Brake for getting the government to admit to this snippet: The amount of traffic on the A628 through the Peak District National Park is expected to be 12,600 vehicles a day by 2023 without the proposed £113 million Mottram / Tintwistle bypass, or 20,000 vehicles a day by the same time if the new road is built. ”The bypass will make the route attractive to road users,” according to transport minister Stephen Ladyman.

Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon)

Campaigners are lobbying English Nature to firm up their opposition to the road, and not simply go for cop-out ‘mitigation’ measures. The proposed scheme would threaten bat habitats, including two very rare species that are only found in the south-west of England. Write letters objecting to the scheme by looking at the Take Action part of our website at and see the campaign website at


Gwyneth Dunwoody

Gwyneth Dunwoody is fighting to remain chair of the House of Commons transport select committee, a post she has held since 1997. The last attempt to oust Ms Dunwoody, who has been a persistent thorn in the government’s side, and a fierce critic of various aspects of transport policy, failed when more than 100 Labour MPs rebelled. Why not get in touch with your Labour MP, if you have one, and suggest another rebellion to make sure our Gwyneth keeps her job.

Transport emissions and a government cover up…

Official figures showing a sharp increase in greenhouse gasses from air and road transport were removed from an Office of National Statistics (ONS) report after pressure from the Department for Transport (DfT). The statistics would have shown an 85 per cent increase in pollutants from the airline industry and 59 per cent from road freight transport since 1990, but after the DfT intervened did not mention transport emissions at all. Officials at the ONS are said to be livid. For the record, Tony Blair insisted climate change was “very, very critical” the same week this particular dodgy dossier was published, while Margaret Beckett claimed the UK was a world leader in reducing emissions.

Appraisal guidance briefing - how to ensure alternatives to road building are considered

The Road Block briefing on appraisal guidance for local authority road schemes is now ready. This is particularly useful for groups who are facing new roads in their local authority's 5 year Local Transport Plan (LTP). You can use this to lobby for non road building alternatives to be considered, as required by the guidance. The briefing is on the Road Block website under Campaign Resources at

All the arguments you need to fight roads…

A fantastic briefing sheet that contains all the bits of government policy that argues against road building in the past 5 years is now available on the Road Block website, under Campaign Resources

M6 Toll 'Drive for Charity'

Midland Expressway Limited (MEL) who run the controversial M6 Toll motorway are asking people to 'Drive for Charity' on 13 July, when they will donate the revenue raised that day to various good causes. Why not a 'leave your car at home' day and give the money you save to charity?

National Lift Share Day

Road commuters will be targeted as part of National Lift Share Day 24-hours later (14th June). Halving the 19 miles the average car commuter drives every day would save 648kg of carbon dioxide a year, or what could be absorbed by 216 trees. For tips, further info, and to help promote lift sharing, see

Living Streets Annual Conference “The Walking Pound”

The theme of this year's conference is the link between improved walking conditions and neighbourhood prosperity. It will be held on 10.30 – 5pm, Saturday 16th July at City Hall, London. The event - which is FREE - is primarily for campaigners and activists, or those who simply want to know more....but numbers are limited to 150 places so please book soon. For more info email or see

Rail closures in Stoke

Over 50 people attended the meeting at Barlaston on 31 May to hear the case against the proposed SRA closures of 4 stations in the Stoke area. The SRA maintained their position that Stone would keep its station, but the others would have a substitute bus service. More action is planned.


Alistair Darling ‘pied’ at ‘Future Heathrow’ launch

Secretary of State for Transport, Alistair Darling, was ‘pied’ by a climate change activist at the launch of ‘Future Heathrow’ at the CBI HQ on 23 May. This powerful new lobby group has been formed to ensure the ‘sustainable’ expansion of Heathrow airport. (Sounds like they won’t need to roll their sleeves up, seeing they already have the Secretary of State’s support… but we’ll let that go for now, ed). A demonstration by more than 100 residents and a well targeted carrot cake upset Darling’s and Future Heathrow’s hopes of a quiet event. Further info at and

Information about the carrot cake at

G8 Climate Day of Action – 8 July

Join Bob Geldof’s ‘One Million’, by attending the G8 on Fri 8th July for the International Day of Action on the Root Causes of Climate Change. G8 climate action email list at

Climate Change: The Big Ask

Friends of the Earth, meanwhile, is urging everybody to ask their MP to support a new law that would require a three per cent reduction in carbon emissions every year. The Big Ask has already won support from green-tinted parliamentarians such as Michael Meacher, John Gummer and Norman Baker. Further information at

Art Not Oil?

Art Not Oil, an exhibition which invites artists to examine the damage done to the planet by companies such as BP, is being held at the Institute of Autonomy, Gower Street, London, from 10th to 18th June. More information at

Please send us your campaign news - deadline 16 June 05