Alliance against road building

Road Block e-bulletin * 16th September 2005

Further info on opposing roads can be found at The next e-bulletin deadline is 29 September; please send us your campaign news.


(1) Campaign updates – New M1 widening campaign; Brunel Link/Harnham Relief Road (Salisbury); Weymouth Relief Road (Dorset); Norwich Northern Distributor Road (Norfolk); Thames Gateway Bridge (London); Durham Northern Relief Road; Tunstall Northern Bypass (Stoke); M74 (Glasgow); Priory Crescent, Southend (Essex); Bexhill - Hastings Link Road (Sussex); Roads protest 'up North'

(2) Transport news – Fuel 'protest' flop; Jeremy Clarkson 'pied'; 60% cut in transport emissions by 2030; Extra tax on gas guzzlers; What can Road Block do for me?

(3) Events


1 and 15 Oct - Local Transport Plan training days

8 Oct - Roads and Runways gathering

10 Oct - Road User Charging Seminar

11 Oct - The End of Oil conference

23 Oct - Freedom to protest conference

3 Dec - International Demo against Climate Change



No M1 widening

A campaign has been established against the planned M1 widening, with the official campaign launch on Car Free Day, 22 September, in Sheffield. Please help the campaign - write to your MP to oppose this use of over £3 billion and contact us if you want to get more involved or can distribute leaflets and posters. The proposed widening, from Luton to Leeds, would cost a whopping £3 billion, just to fill up again with traffic. Some of the widening is very controversial, including the stretch through the Tinsley community in Sheffield, which already suffers illegal pollution levels. Some have likened widening motorways to an obese man trying to lose weight by lying on a couch and eating more, or digging a ditch in a bog, only for it to fill with more water. The new campaign aims to link up all those opposing the widening along the entire length.

See or telephone

Brunel Link/Harnham Relief Road (Salisbury)

Wiltshire County Council have finally counted the objections to their second attempt at a planning application for this controversial road proposal. Objections: 1307 letters, 265 petition signatures. Supporters: 36 letters, 117 petition signatures. Pretty conclusive then? Objections have more than doubled since the previous planning application. This scheme was provisionally approved back in 2001. It is time the government threw it out of the roads programme, in line with its new roads policy guidance. See

Weymouth Relief Road (Dorset)

A planning application is due to be submitted on 23 September. Letters will be needed - watch the Take Action page of our website. Advance documents show that Dorset County Council are already misleading people on the environmental impact. This scheme is one of the most destructive in the LTP programme. It would cross through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB - the top landscape designation in Britain), and would devastate the settings of numerous iron age barrows. It would also cut across an ancient woodland owned by the Woodland Trust, who are opposing the scheme, with Dorset CPRE.

Norwich Northern Distributor Road (Norfolk)

Norfolk County Council's cabinet is expected to agree changes to the route as environmental objections by English Nature and the Environment Agency have proved insurmountable. The usually tame government agencies have even gone as far as to ask the council whether a public transport strategy could make the entire road unnecessary. Norfolk are now applying to the government's Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) for a feasibility study on road user charging for the £99 million scheme to make it affordable, despite TIF being aimed at road user charging on existing, not new, roads, to try to reduce traffic, not generate it. The No N25 campaign are holding a demo at City Hall on 19 Sept at 9am when the council cabinet is expected to approve the route changes. More info at

Thames Gateway Bridge (London)

The inquiry re-opened on 13 Sept with a press stunt where campaigners dressed up in ear defenders and gas masks. On the opening day, Prof Phil Goodwin gave evidence and effectively demolished Transport for London's traffic forecasts. Ken Livingstone has suggested Bexley Council consider a congestion charge to deal with the huge amounts of extra traffic generated by his bridge! Two transport experts have also said that the design of the bridge effectively prevents any tram option being considered. See

Durham Northern Relief Road

Durham County Council are now considering a rejected and environmentally unacceptable third option for a road. This is a familiar tactic of offering options that don't have any prospect of being built in an attempt to split the opposition. See

Tunstall Northern Bypass (Stoke)

The appeal against the granting of Compulsory Purchase Orders and the legality of the Planning Permission is to be heard on 9 / 10 November in the High Court, London. Support welcome. Campaigners are also considering a simultaneous Judicial Review.

See for this scheme which threatens Scotia Valley.

M74 (Glasgow)

The campaign have launched an important legal challenge on the Scottish Executive's decision to overturn the inquiry Inspector, and desperately need funds (see RB bulletin 17 June).

A127/A1159 Priory Crescent, Southend (Essex)

Southend on Sea council and Government Office East are still refusing to release all the latest appraisal information to local campaigners despite repeated Freedom of Information requests. Campaigners are keen to see how the council can claim 'value for money' when the scheme has leapt from £3.5 million to over £11 million, for 870m of road! Local residents have promised direct action should the government give the go-ahead. This scheme would trash an Anglo Saxon King’s burial mound, part of Priory Park, and 113 trees. Residents have collected over 20,000 signatures against the road.

See and

Bexhill - Hastings Link Road

Dr Caroline Lucas, the Green MEP, will be visiting Hastings to support the campaign on 22 September. This scheme would affect nearby SSSIs (top wildlife sites), ancient woodland, and the 'green lung' of Combe Haven.

Roads protest 'up North'

A Manchester-based group are organising a fun day of demonstration and street theatre outside the Highways Agency's central Manchester office. The aim of the demo is to bring local campaign groups together to collectively protest against the many damaging road schemes threatening the North of England (date is yet to be confirmed). An exhibition of the landscapes under threat is also being worked on. Groups or individuals wanting to come along and join in, with planning, on the day, or with photography/artwork that might be suitable for an exhibition, should contact Emma at . A planning and brainstorming meeting will be held on 27 September at The Basement, 24 Lever Street, Manchester from 7.30pm.


Fuel 'protests' flop

With the 'showdown' by the fuel protesters attracting just 12 people, the media are finally getting the message that they don't have a leg to stand on, and are all bluff. The government has not increased fuel duty for years, costing the national economy billions. With a recognition that global factors are causing high oil prices, that this will be a permanent feature of the global economy, and the urgency of climate change, the media debate has been far more sophisticated, and much more unsympathetic to the posturing bully boy hauliers this time round. Climate change banners were hung off bridges as the M4 'go-slow' convoy drove past on 16 September. For a briefing on fuel prices, and the lies told by the motorist lobby see . The hauliers, instead of whinging, should look at ways in which they could cut fuel consumption say Transport 2000,

Jeremy Clarkson

The anti-social, anti environmental 'petrol-head' received his 'just desserts' as well as an honorary degree from Oxford Brookes University on 12 September, when he was 'pied' by a climate change campaigner. Over 3000 people signed a petition against Clarkson being rewarded for his offensive views. Brookes University apparently receives significant funding from the motoring industry, and possibly explains their bizarre decision to hand the 'pretend' degree to the anti-intellectual.

See and

60% cut in transport emissions by 2030

No, not the pipedream of environmentalists, but the conclusions of Halcrow Group and University College London, funded by the Department of Transport! The Visioning and Backcasting for UK Transport Policy (VIBAT) projects looks at how to reduce CO2 emissions by 60% by 2030. They chose 2030, instead of the government deadline of 2050 in recognition of the early action required. Researchers modelled two visions - market driven new technological change, and a 'smart social policy' based on behavioural change. The conclusions? Significantly greater cuts could be made with changing behaviour, with technology unable to deliver by itself. The final report will be published in October. Let's hope that the ex head of British Airways and new 'transport czar', Rod Eddington, receives a copy before he reports back to Blair and Brown next year on the future of transport policy.

Tell Tony Blair to tax gas guzzlers off the road

Write to Tony Blair asking him to increase road-tax for gas-guzzlers and offer incentives for people who drive more fuel-efficient cars. E-mail via or write to 10 Downing Street, London SW1A 2AA, or fax 020 7925 0918.

What can Road Block do for me?

For those campaigning against road schemes, we can offer you the following help:

* Numerous Briefing Papers on our website, from campaign tactics to understanding cost benefit analysis!

* Referral to expert help - on planning issues, traffic modelling, ecology, freedom of information, legal challenges

* Small amounts of funding, especially on campaigning expenses, like leaflets and banners, and demonstrations

* Publicity for your activities

* Support, advice and encouragement - anytime!


Local Transport Plan training days - 1 and 15 Oct

These days are for activists to compare their local authority's draft 5 year LTPs, and share campaign strategies.

LONDON - 1 October, see

MANCHESTER - 15 October, see

Roads and Runways gathering - 8 Oct

Gathering to plan action against expansion of aviation and the roads programme, in Nottingham, from 10am. Early booking essential: email or phone 0845 3550111. Details will be posted at nearer the time.

Road User Charging Seminar - 10 Oct

This seminar will look at how to take the debate forward in the light of the government's decision to pilot local schemes ahead of a national scheme. Central London on 10 October from 1.30pm to 5pm. Email for details.

The End of Oil conference - 11 Oct

A major conference examining the peak oil problem and its impact on climate change, the world's food supply & the world economy. Speakers include Michael Meacher MP, Tim Lang and Andrew Simms (of NEF), chaired by Dr Ian Gibson MP. The conference is organised by East Anglia Food Link, CRed and


Or book by calling CRED on 01603 592 838

Freedom to protest conference - 23 Oct. See

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.