Alliance against road building

Road Block e-bulletin * 2nd July 2005


(1) Campaign updates – Priory Crescent (Southend, Essex); Westbury (Wiltshire); Stonehenge (Wiltshire); Mottram - Tintwistle (Cheshire); Thames Gateway Bridge (London); Kingskerswell (Devon); Shrewsbury (Shropshire); Brunel Link / Harnham Link (Salisbury, Wilts); Bristol Airport; Harlow (Herts); Norwich Northern Distributor Road; Durham Relief Road

(2) Transport news – LTP2 guide and training; LTP briefing for County Councillors; CO2 and transport; Gwyneth Dunwoody; NVDA; Jeremy Clarkson; Car Nation documentary



A127/A1159 Priory Crescent, Southend

Local campaigners have removed the fences that Southend Borough Council erected a year ago around a nationally significant Saxon king's burial site, at Priory Park. No arrests were made. The road threatens the burial site, 113 trees and 3000m2 of open space. The council are currently bidding for funding from government, after the CPOs were confirmed last year. Campaigners claim this is one of the most expensive stretches of local road, as costs for the 870 metre stretch of dual carriageway have more than tripled, to reach a staggering £11.2m. See and

Westbury Bypass (Wiltshire)

Wiltshire County Council, have had to concede that the scheme has been sufficiently altered that it should have been readvertised as a ‘departure application’. This means that there will be another period for objection. Although this advertisement has not yet been placed, objections (application 05/09011) can be sent to Jason Day, Development Control, Wiltshire County Council, County Hall, Trowbridge, Wilts BA14 8JD, or . English Nature, the Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency, The Ramblers Association, two parish councils, and 650 local people have objected to the previous application. Yet Wiltshire Council is still trying to persuade the government to fund it. See

A303 Stonehenge (Wiltshire)

This enormously destructive scheme has seen costs escalate from £192m to £223m, it was revealed in a Parliamentary Question by Simon Hughes MP. Funding for this scheme now has to come from the regions, rather than centrally. Rumours abound in the construction industry press that the project will be dropped. The Inspector's report is still with the DfT, and a decision is expected any moment.

Save Swallows Wood (Cheshire)

On Sunday 10 July, 2pm, the Save Swallow's Wood group will lead a walk around Longdendale Valley, on the Cheshire/Derbyshire border. This short circular walk will give people a chance to come and explore the wildlife and character of the landscape that will be destroyed if the A57/A628 Mottram Tintwistle bypass goes ahead. For more information visit or contact Emma on or telephone .

Thames Gateway Bridge Public Inquiry

The public inquiry rumbles on with supporters of the scheme still putting their case. However very interesting facts are appearing. The regeneration report from TFL has shown that Bexley, the most adversely affected borough, will gain precisely zero new jobs. Greenwich Council is unhappy as the angle of the bridge means that it cannot be used for light rail which could spoil Greenwich’s future public transport plans. Also Bexley council managed to get TfL to admit that the road is at odds with 4 out of 6 of the objectives of the London Plan. Objectors will be presenting evidence when the Inquiry restarts on 13 September.

Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon)

This one gets more like Fawlty Towers all the time. The Government Office South West has already put the planning application on hold (see RB bulletin 17 June). Torbay Borough Council and Devon County Council claim the £78 million dual carriageway is desperately needed to connect Torbay to the motorway and trunk road network, yet at this week’s site visit planners conceded only half of traffic at the main bottleneck was heading between the seaside resort and the wider world. Likewise, it was claimed the new road could deliver 2,600 vehicles an hour to Torbay, which is able to absorb only 1,000 an hour! English Nature re-iterated its concern about loss of habitat for rare bats and Great Crested Newts (although has not yet steeled itself to clamber off the fence), while Teignbridge District Council, where the bypass would be built, said it was unhappy with official air quality modelling and doing its own assessment. It would seem Basil Fawlty, Torbay’s most famous resident, is alive and well and working as a transport planner.

Shrewsbury North West Relief Road (Shropshire)

Council have voted to keep the road in the Local Transport Plan. However there were over 1000 objections during the consultation. See RB bulletin 17 June for details of the scheme.

Brunel Link/Harnham Relief Road (Salisbury, Wiltshire)

The Countryside Agency and English Nature, have put in a strong objection to the road on grounds of lack of justification and the failure to consider sustainable development principles.

Bristol Airport could fund new road

Bristol Airport is offering to fund a bypass if a traffic study (part of their Travel Masterplan) shows that traffic in the villages is through traffic to the airport. Is this a worrying new trend?

Stop Harlow North (Herts)

The campaign will be hosting a big rally on July 3rd in Eastwick, in the countryside under threat from massive house building, that includes a new road. Mark Prisk MP will be addressing the crowd. See

Norwich Northern Distributor Road

English Nature and the Environment Agency are still firmly objecting to the road passing through the Wensum Valley. This could result in the road being thrown out of the East of England Plan. So the desperate CC are taking the agencies on coach trips to show them other routes, these other routes are far more expensive so there is much less chance of getting funding.

"Relief Road" or "White collar access road"? (Durham)

Durham County Council's proposal for a "relief road" through the centre of Durham is causing a lot of comment. The road would pass through a section of ancient woodland, along a valley designated as of high landscape value and then through the conservation area of this cathedral city. The proposed road seems only to shift a hot spot of congestion from one central area to another, but coincidentally comes out right next to "County Hall," headquarters of Durham County Council. The council are applying for funding via the 'Transport Innovation Fund' (TIF), as they are tagging a road using charging proposal onto it, in an effort to make it seem 'green' and 'innovative'.


LTP2 - guide and training

T2000 and FoE's Local Transport Plan (LTP2) Guide is not yet up on the FoE website, but Road Block can email you a copy if you contact us. Various NGOs are organising two LTP training days on 1 Oct in London, and 15 Oct in Manchester. Put in your diaries, more details to follow.

Briefing for County Councillors on alternatives to road building in LTP2

Road Block have produced a briefing for local groups to give to their County Councillors on the government requirements that alternatives to road building must be considered. The briefing is non-branded, anti-copyright, for campaigners to add to and amend. It is up on the RB website under Campaign Resources. Please use it! Many County Councillors may never have heard about this before.

DfT ensure transport emissions are removed from ONS report

A number of people have asked us where we got the story from about the DfT having embarrassing rising transport CO2 emissions statistics removed from an Office of National Statistics (ONS) report. It came from the Guardian, and we forgot to put in the link -,,1225523,00.html

Gwyneth Dunwoody keeps her job

Dunwoody remains as the Chair of the Commons transport select committee. Gwyneth has been a consistent critic of government transport policy, and No 10 was desperate to get rid of her. See,3605,1516797,00.html

Transport and direct action debate

There is an online debate about direct action and transport at

Jeremy Clarkson

Don't forget to sign the e-petition to protest about the thoroughly unpleasant 'petrolhead' possibly receiving an honorary degree from Oxford Brookes University (see RB e-bulletin 17 June) at and see,14173,1514425,00.html

Car Nation documentary

Starting on BBC2 this Sunday (3 June) and the following two Sundays after, this documentary explores Britain's relationship with cars, and includes footage and interviews from the protest against the Linslade Bypass earlier this year.