road protests (current)   |   movement links


From: "Road Block" (office@roadblock.org.uk)
Subject: Road Block e-bulletin - 31 Aug 06
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2006 23:41:41 +0100

Road Block e-bulletin * 31 August 2006

Unfortunately you will have to survive without your RB e-bulletin in September but don't worry, you'll get your next one in October! Road Block is having to focus on fundraising as our shoe-string operation is looking threadbare. If you know anyone rich who wants to halt road transport's contribution to climate change, then send them our way! 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!

To get any info on 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/

***********************************

CONTENTS

(1) Transport and climate news

Government doesn't know the climate impact of its roads policies
DfT savaged on climate change by Environmental Audit Committee
DfT axes yellow school bus funding
Roads in National Parks and AONBs
Sustainable travel towns cut traffic
Road pricing
Hard shoulders not widening
Conservatives to 'green' their transport policies?
Stop Climate Chaos
David Croker

(2) Campaign updates

Titnore Lane (Sussex)
Brunel Link / Harnham Relief Road (Salisbury, Wiltshire)
Weymouth Relief Road (Dorset)
Tyne tunnel
Edge Lane West, Liverpool
A628 / A57 Mottram to Tintwistle Bypass (Peak District)
Southend Priory Crescent (Essex)
Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon)
Brownhills Eastern Bypass (Walsall)
M6 Widening (Cheshire and Staffordshire)
Tunstall Northern Bypass (Stoke)
Lower Thames Crossing
M1 Widening (Sheffield)
Dalkeith Bypass (Edinburgh)
Review into Scottish toll bridges re-opened

(3) Events

(4) Take Action - http://www.roadblock.org.uk/action.htm

***********************************

(1) TRANSPORT AND CLIMATE NEWS

Government doesn't know the climate impact of its roads policies

An important report by consultants Steer Davies Gleeve (SDG) for Transport 2000, Road Block, RSPB, Friends of the Earth and Sustrans published on 2 August has revealed that surprise-surprise the DfT doesn't have a clue about the climate change impact of its roads policies and that emissions will continue to rise unless policies change dramatically. The DfT's CO2 estimates are top-down guesses, which bear no relation to reality. Over half of approved road schemes have not had a CO2 assessment. SDG also discovered that the 2004 'Future of Transport' White Paper added an extra 900kms of new roads to the already planned 500km in the 2000 'Ten Year Plan' plan, but did not increase the CO2 estimates. The DfT is also pinning all its hopes on solving road transport emissions on technological fixes which already look set to fail - like voluntary agreements with car manufacturers which are already way off target. The report received great coverage in the Financial Times, Guardian, Daily Mail and Express.
See http://www.roadblock.org.uk/press_releases/2006-08-02.htm
and here for the full (905K) report -
http://www.transport2000.org.uk/library/CO2_emissions_report_Final_v3.pdf
and FT coverage here -
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/8f916540-21c2-11db-b650-0000779e2340.html

DfT savaged on climate change by Environmental Audit Committee

The cross-party Environmental Audit Committee released a report criticising the DfT for its climate change record on 7 August. Its calls for higher taxes on 4x4's and aviation received widespread media coverage, but the Committee were also very critical of the DfT's roadbuilding policies. The report said the Committee of MPs "were unimpressed by the Secretary of State's defence of the Government's record on road building". They recommended that road schemes should be independently assessed for their impact on climate change, and that they should also be assessed against public transport schemes.
http://www.roadblock.org.uk/press_releases/2006-08-07.htm
Full report is here -
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/............/981/98102.htm

DfT axes yellow school bus funding

Plans to introduce a national fleet of American-style yellow buses to ferry children to school have been axed. In 2003 government research showed that a national scheme was estimated to cost between just £83 million and £123 million - about the same cost as the Mottram-Tintwistle Bypass in the Peak District. However, just before the Parliamentary recess on 20 July, minister Gillian Merron announced that a national scheme would not go ahead despite previous promises.
See http://www.publications.parliament.uk/........./60720w1859.htm#06072111000594
See also
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/...../nbus06.xml

Roads in National Parks and AONBs

On 30 August CPRE issued new research that showed that the most precious landscapes in England are under threat like never before - particularly from road building. Of the nine "jewels in the crown" highlighted by CPRE, three were road schemes. CPRE said that the government and councils were bending the planning laws to allow building in nationally important landscapes. The Weymouth Relief Road goes through the stunning Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Ridgeway, the Bincombe Valley, the Lorton nature reserve and SSSI and ancient woodland. The scheme is currently approved by government but is being investigated for a 41 per cent cost increase. The Mottram Tintwistle Bypass goes through the Peak District National Park, and Swallows Wood nature reserve yet despite this the government are bulldozing it through with a public inquiry expected next year. The government have also just sent in the bulldozers to the Lake District National Park where work started on the £35 million High and Low Newton Bypass.
See http://www.cpre.org.uk/news-releases/news-rel-2006/48-06.htm
See http://environment.guardian.co.uk/conservation/story/0,,1861036,00.html

Sustainable travel towns cut traffic

An innovative personalised marketing scheme run in Peterborough and Worcester by sustainable transport charity Sustrans and partner Socialdata has proved that it if households choose greener and healthier alternatives just once or twice a week car traffic can be significantly reduced by up to 13%. It is possible! The £10 million scheme is only in its first year, and is being run by Sustrans on behalf of the Department for Transport at three "Sustainable Travel Demonstration Towns" - Peterborough, Worcester and Darlington. How is this achieved? Sustrans have used what is called "Smarter Choices" and Individualised Travel Marketing (ITM). The work involves making direct contact with households by phone and on the doorstep to offer personalised information and advice on alternatives to using the car, from bespoke bus timetables, to discounts on cycles. When given choices and information many people opt not to take the car.
See http://sustrans.org.uk/default.asp?sID=1155215529265

Road pricing

In a 'leaked' letter to the Sunday Times on 6 Aug, it was revealed that Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander proposes to introduce new legislation next year to bring in national road pricing.
See http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2300741.html

Meanwhile, Alexander has appointed Anthony Vigor, formerly a senior research fellow at the Institute of Public Policy Research, who is an advocate of road pricing as his policy adviser. The environment secretary, David Miliband, has also appointed a green policy adviser, Tony Grayling, formerly the IPPR's associate director who is also a big fan of road pricing. Looks dead certain then, except the DfT are still insisting that the objective of road pricing is simply to shift congestion off the busiest roads, not to reduce traffic overall to tackle climate change.
A Friends of the Earth briefing on road pricing is available here -
http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/road_pricing.pdf

Hard shoulders not widening

The government has announced that instead of spending £500m widening the M42, it will instead spend £100m on converting the hard shoulder into an extra lane for a stretch south of Birmingham. If the trial is successful it could be used elsewhere instead of costly motorway widening. Currently the M1 widening is costed at over £3.7 billion, and the M6 widening is estimated to cost £2.9 billion.
See http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2335920,00.html

Conservatives to 'green' their transport policies?

The Conservative Party has been making very green noises about transport recently as their transport spokesman Chris Grayling admitted that "privatisation was not right for our railways". Steven Norris, who infamously admitted the protesters were right at Newbury and is now in charge of the Tory's transport policy review group, has been calling for higher taxes on aviation and motoring, to reflect its true environmental cost. It remains to be seen whether Cameron will prefer this or John 'Odd' Redwood's Competitiveness Commission which is calling for more roads... Meanwhile the Cabinet is split between the older Brown crowd who fear eco-taxes after being stung by the fuel protests, and the younger Alexander / Miliband crowd who claim they want to tackle climate change.

Stop Climate Chaos

By now you should have heard of the big-event of the year - the I-Count Stop Climate Chaos event in Trafalgar Square in London on 4 November. There are various events leading up to it organised by the Campaign against Climate Change. On 16 Sept there will be the "Race against Climate Doom" march in London, starting at 12.30pm and ending at the US Embassy, and on 4 Oct there is a public meeting with George Monbiot in London. On 4 Nov, you can join the cycle protest at 10am which will join a rally at the US Embassy at 12pm, which will then march to join the main demonstration at Trafalgar Square.
See Campaign against Climate Change at http://www.campaigncc.org
and for the main event see http://www.icount.org.uk/

David Croker - veteran of Twyford Down - dies

Many people will be sad to learn of the death of David Croker on 2 July 2006. David was a crucial player in the battle to save Twyford Down. He was one of three people who took the government to the European Courts over the infamous destruction which triggered the 1990s roads protests. Despite being a Conservative councillor, David fiercely opposed the Tory road for decades, being the Chair of the Twyford Down Association and leading the opposition to the scheme through the public inquiries. He also invited the young Earth First! movement to Twyford Down in 1992, and the rest is history... He was a remarkable man, full of integrity and passion.
Read David's obituary in the Times at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/.../0,,172-2314591,00.html

***********************************

(2) CAMPAIGN NEWS

Titnore Lane (Sussex) - eviction alert

The protest camp at Titnore Woods has now lost its legal battle after their appeal failed in the High Court on 30 August. The way is now open for the Somerset family to evict the tree-top protesters who are protecting ancient woodland from a 850 house development and road widening. Please go and support the camp if you can. To get more information on the campaign and directions to the camp (they will be very happy to see you!) visit -
http://www.protectourwoodland.co.uk/

Brunel Link / Harnham Relief Road (aka Salisbury Bypass, Wiltshire)

Now that the government has decided not to fund the scheme as it was not selected as a regional priority (see RB bulletin 30 July), Wiltshire County Council are now claiming they were 'led-on' by the government and are claiming back the £1.75 million they have wasted progressing the scheme so far. Local campaigners say that it is the council's own fault as they incompetently published two flawed planning applications and ignored the objections of local residents and government environment watchdogs. Hardworking campaigners were able to hold a celebratory party alongside the (now safe) River Nadar on 28 August. Congratulations to the A36 / A350 Corridor Alliance and Salisbury Transport 2000.

Weymouth Relief Road (Dorset)

This controversial road scheme is looking dodgier by the month. The opposition to the scheme is looking very weighty, coming from Countryside Agency (after they hired Transport Research Laboratories to inform them how the road will increase congestion), English Nature, Environment Agency, RSPB, Dorset Wildlife Trust, CPRE, Transport 2000, Friends of the Earth, and over 1000 local residents who objected to the planning application. Also a local plan inspector, after hearing all the evidence, recommended deleting the road from the local plan. Top consultancy Steer Davies Gleeve also dismissed the economic, traffic and regeneration case for the road. Now the costs have increased from £54m at first approval to £78m in under two years - a 41 per cent increase. This is without taking into account all the expensive mitigation the environmental watchdogs will insist on. The road was named as one of the most damaging road schemes in the country by the CPRE in its recent research into the most threatened landscapes in Britain. Surely it is about time the government withdrew approval for this most damaging of schemes?
See http://www.cpre.org.uk/news-releases/news-rel-2006/48-06.htm

Tyne tunnel

Unfortunately local resident Bryan Atkinson lost his second Appeal against the Secretary of State's decision to allow the second Tyne road tunnel project to go ahead. The Appeal centred on the fact that the Environmental Statement had not identified where waste and spoil from the scheme would go. The senior judge noted that it was "ironical" that large projects with long time-scales can win approval on the grounds that waste disposal is too far ahead to specify in detail. Protesters thought it was ironical that the judge should use the word "ironical". The original four would-be concessionaires have reduced to two. These are Connect North East (a consortium of four including Balfour Beatty) and The Bouygues consortium.

Edge Lane West, Liverpool

Plucky local resident Elizabeth Pascoe has taken the government to court over the Compulsory Purchase Orders and the Human Rights Act for the Edge Lane West road scheme in Liverpool. The road scheme is linked to Prescott's barking mad 'Pathfinder' scheme which means knocking down perfectly good homes in the North whilst building new home in the green belt in the South. A ruling is expected in October.
See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/....../nprezza25.xml

A628 / A57 Mottram to Tintwistle Bypass (Peak District National Park)

Since funding for the Mottram-Tintwistle bypass has been deferred until 2013, locally things have been hotting up with high levels of pro-bypass activity: councillor's are lobbying MPs, who are lobbying the Secretary of State, and the local press has been dominated by their progress -
(see http://www.tamesideadvertiser.co.uk/....metrolink.html).
Despite the inevitable delay, the pro-bypass lobby are insisting there is no alternative to the bypass and that funding can still be arranged. Council for National Parks, CPRE, and Save Swallow's Wood are hoping to arrange a meeting with the Roads Minister in order to ensure he hears the other side of the debate after meeting the pro-road lobby. If you haven't already written to object to the bypass proposals, please download a standard letter from -
http://www.saveswallowswood.org.uk/lineorders.shtml#object
and send it today. A new group against the road has been set up in Woodhead - WAIT, Woodhead Against Increased Traffic - and they will be attending the Pensitone Show on 9 September.
See http://www.wait-campaign.co.uk

Southend Priory Crescent (Essex)

The camp on the route of the £25 million road scheme will celebrate its first birthday on 23 September. The camp would welcome visitors. It has been protecting a Saxon King's burial mound, and preventing the government approving a massive 745 per cent cost increase.
See http://www.savepriorypark.org for more info on the campaign.

Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon)

Local campaigners have discovered by using the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act that council officers deleted from a final version of the Economic Impact Report details of pristine countryside that would be opened up for development by the road scheme. The details had been included in an earlier draft but kept hidden from councillors in the final version. Devon County Council expect to put in a bid for £108 million funding to the government in the Autumn, but are refusing to reveal under FOI whether they have considered alternatives to the road scheme, as required by government guidance. Meanwhile the Kingskerswell Alliance are keeping up the pressure having just submitted a detailed response to the impending inquiry into the South West regional plan.

Brownhills Eastern Bypass (Walsall)

An 83 year old grandmother has become the 250th villager to join the SCAR Ltd campaign. Stonall Campaign Against Roads have set themselves up as a Ltd company to provide a robust structure to continue the campaign through to conclusion and to demonstrate that SCAR has proven support from the villagers of the Stonnall area.
See http://www.stonnall-scar.co.uk

M6 Widening (Cheshire and Staffordshire)

After their fantastic defeat of the M6 Expressway on 20 July (see RB bulletin 30 July 06) GAME campaigners are organising now to see off the £2.9 billion widening proposal. Regional meetings have been held and an article appeared in the New Statesman -
http://www.newstatesman.com/200608070023

Tunstall Northern Bypass (Stoke)

Local residents are outraged that neither DfT nor Government Office West Midlands will take responsibility for their decision to approve the dreadful Tunstall Northern Bypass which will increase traffic on surrounding roads and trash the Scotia Valley heathland. Instead DfT are refusing to answer questions to justify their decision and are passing the buck to Stoke Council. DfT will make a final decision on funding once tenders have come back.
See http://tunstall.spaces.live.com/

Lower Thames Crossing

The South East and East Regional Assemblies and the Greater London Authority are pressing for feasibility studies on a potential Lower Thames road crossing, identified by roads campaigners many years ago as key to aspirations to build a secret 'Outer M25 by stealth'. Many road schemes, when linked together form this ring road around London, including the controversial Wing Bypass in Buckinghamshire which is being pushed by the County Council but strongly resisted by local residents and Friends of the Earth.

M1 Widening (Sheffield)

No M1 Widening (Sheffield) have had many successful stalls at fetes and festivals over the summer with planned workshops at the Friends of the Earth local groups conference and at the Climate Camp. There is a Health Impact Assessment ongoing, and it is throwing up lots of evidence about the damaging effects of transport on health. The final summary of all this evidence will be presented to any public inquiry.
See http://www.nowideningm1.org.uk/

Dalkeith Bypass (Edinburgh)

On 25 July Morgan Est was appointed as the main contractor for the design and build Dalkeith Bypass which was the scene of a week long eviction of tree top protesters in the midst of a Scottish winter in January 2006 (see RB bulletin 11 Feb 06). The road goes through Dalkeith Park, which has abundant wildlife: badgers, salmon, trout, breeding goosanders, kingfishers, dippers, indigenous Roe deer and otters.
See http://www.save-dalkeith-park.org.uk/

Review into Scottish toll bridges re-opened

The Scottish Executive have re-opened their review into tolls on the Forth and Tay bridges, following political pressure to abolish the tolls from Fife politicians. Meanwhile, two Members of the Scottish Parliament (one Labour, one SNP) are attempting to introduce bills in the Scottish Parliament to abolish the tolls. Friends of the Earth Scotland and Transform Scotland have made a joint submission to the Scottish Executive urging retention of the tolls (or, ideally, replacement with road user charging), and are organising opposition to the two private members bills.
More info on the Executive's review here - http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Transport/Road/TollBridge
And the response from FoE Scotland and Transform Scotland -
http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/pubs/parli_briefings.html
More info on the private members bills here -
http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/bills/membersBills.htm

***********************************

(3) EVENTS

"Race against Climate Doom" March in London on 16 Sept
See Campaign against Climate Change at http://www.campaigncc.org

Climate Change Public Meeting with George Monbiot in London on 4 Oct
See Campaign against Climate Change at http://www.campaigncc.org

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/">http://www.icount.org.uk/

***********************************

(4) TAKE ACTION - http://www.roadblock.org.uk/action.htm

Object to the M1 widening by emailing Transport Minister, Douglas Alexander, with a standard letter directly from here -
http://www.foe.co.uk/...../m1_widening/index.html

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

***********************************

Road Block
020 7729 6973 / 07854 693067
http://www.roadblock.org.uk


road protests (current)   |   movement links