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Date: May 20, 2005 4:16 PM
Subject: Road Block e-bulletin - 20 May 05
General info on Road Block can be found at http://www.roadblock.org.uk
Road Block e-bulletin - 20 May 2005
(1) Road Block national anti-roads conference
(2) Campaign updates Thames Gateway Bridge (London), Scotland (M74,Glasgow, 2nd Forth Road Crossing), Tunstall Northern Bypass(Staffordshire), Norwich Northern Distributor Road, Lancaster NorthernBypass, Kingskerswell Bypass (Devon), Linslade Bypass (Bucks),Brownhills Eastern Bypass (Walsall)
(3) Transport news List of all Government policies saying 'noroads', Highways Agency argues against roads!, Top Gear loses theplot, Rail closures - act now, Website for LTP consultations, DurhamNorthern Bypass, Joint Beds/Bucks Local Transport Plan meeting,Regional Transport campaign groups
(1) National anti-roads conference - 4th June, Birmingham
This is your last chance to book for the national anti-roads conference on 4th June... This is the first anti-roads conference since 1996, and will be a unique chance for all those opposing roads schemes to meet, share information, and gain inspiration to win. The conference starts at 10.30am, and ends at 5pm. Contact Road Block on 01803 847649 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thames Gateway Bridge (London)
The fantastic joint campaign against the new London motorway (aka Thames Gateway Bridge) celebrated a significant victory as campaigners demands for a postponement of the inquiry have been granted. Although Transport for London (TfL) and other supporters of the bridge will still give evidence from the original start date of 7th June, the inquiry will then adjourn until 13th September when objectors will be heard. In the often rowdy pre-inquiry meetings, campaigners had complained that the Inquiry was being fast tracked, information was being with held from objectors, and they needed more time. There will be a demo when the inquiry opens on 7th June. See http://www.pvr.co.uk/ for the local campaign website. Professor Phil Goodwin, the renowned transport academic has analysed (TfL's) traffic figures for the scheme, and has discovered, surprise surprise, that the motorway will bring massive traffic increases on the surrounding roads - sometimes a four or three fold increase.
Scotland - M74 and second Forth road crossing
Friends of the Earth Scotland and JAM74 have launched a legal challenge against the outrageous decision of the Scottish Executive to overturn the complete rejection by the Public Inquiry Inspector of the £500m M74 in East Glasgow. The Scottish Executive arrogantly didn't even give adequate reasons for their dismissal of his findings. To add insult to injury, the Scottish Executive are also proposing to do away with public inquiries into the need for big infrastructure projects that are of 'national strategic significance'. As if things aren't undemocratic enough! The government tried to do the same thing in England in 2001, but failed.
The Forth Estuary Transport Authority
FETA (sounds cheesy to us! Ed) has voted to back a second road crossing of the river Forth ignoring the advice of their own officers. Dr Dan Barlow, Friends of the Earth Scotland's head of research, said: "A new road bridge is the last thing that is needed if Scotland is serious about tackling congestion and cutting climate pollution".
Tunstall Northern Bypass (Staffordshire)
Midlands protester Ian Norris faces huge costs after his High Court bid to stop the building of the Tunstall Northern Bypass, Stoke-on-Trent, was rejected. One of the country's most senior judges refused to overturn a compulsory purchase order. Lawyers for Mr Norris argued John Prescott had taken into account "irrelevant considerations" when granting the order. Mr Norris is planning an appeal, but the Council are already preparing their bid for funding.
Norwich Northern Distributor road - Lib Dem councillor 'comes out'
The Norwich No N25 Campaign has known for some time that a substantial number of the local Lib-Dems are unhappy with their party's support for the Norwich Northern Distributor Road. But now one has spoken up publicly. Just before the General Election Norwich City Councillor Andrew Aalders-Dunthorne (Lib-Dem, Wensum) came out and declared his opposition to the road and his party's policy. The No N25 Campaign (http://www.norwichn25.org) congratulates Cllr. Aalders-Dunthorne on his willingness to put reason ahead of party politics and hopes that he will encourage others in his party to join him in voting against the road in the City Council in the future. A decision from the City to oppose the road would be a major contribution to resisting the County Council's plans. The City Council's current support for the road is on the condition that it "is used as a mechanism for improving alternatives to the car" (!)
Lancaster Northern Bypass - council lies!
A freedom of information request by the Green Party has revealed much lower public support for a Lancaster northern bypass than Lancashire County Council usually cares to admit. A council survey found 16 per cent strongly supported the scheme, while 28 per cent tended to support the road. The council had written to local businesses in March, saying the bypass was supported by 94 per cent, a figure it later corrected to 79 per cent. Will there be another correction now the council has been sussed?
Kingskerswell Bypass Anti-bypass
Parish Councillor Paul Bright, has been reported to the Standards Committee for his opposition to the road, in a clear dirty tricks campaign. The Planning Application is being heard on 8 June.
Linslade Bypass protesters acquitted
Rebecca Lush and Victoria Harvey, arrested for stopping work on the Linslade Bypass, were acquitted at Aylesbury Magistrates Court, when the case was thrown out on a technicality. The pair were disappointed they did not get the chance to argue Buckinghamshire County Council had broken protected species legislation, and are considering taking their complaint to the European Commission. See press release at http://roadblock.org.uk/press_releases/2005-05-16.htm
Brownhills Eastern Bypass (Walsall)
Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council's plan for the Brownhills Eastern Bypass, which would gobble up a chunk of the Staffordshire green belt, is being opposed by the recently formed Stonnall Campaign Against the Roads. 200 people attended the last campaign meeting. More information at http://www.stoptheroads.co.uk
(3) TRANSPORT NEWS
Need the arguments against road building?
A Transport 2000 campaigner has produced the most incredibly useful checklist of key government roads policies to use when responding top roposed road scheme. Contact Road Block for a copy.
Highways Agency argues against road building!
After the Highways Agency (HA) delivered a blow to the East of England plan, concluding that road building in the region could never keep up with traffic growth, and that road user charging should be considered instead, their response to the South East plan is equally as damning. They have said that the plan must not 'just develop into a wish list of major infrastructure projects'. They also argue that 'it is important that an alternative approach to just building more roads or adding capacity to existing ones is also considered', and 'sustainable principles aimed at reducing the need to travel and the active management of demand for private car use and thus minimise the need for new infrastructure'. They finish by arguing for ' measures such as tighter parking standards, cordon charges and/or work place charging at the sub-regional level if.... the need for substantial new road building avoided'
Top Gear really lose the plot
Police were called to Hammersmith bus station on Wednesday evening as Jeremy Clarkson and cohorts had chained themselves to a bus in 'retaliation' for Greenpeace activists halting production of polluting urban 4x4's earlier in the week. It is unclear what their point was, aside from to leave many people without a bus service. Transport forLondon is attempting to stop the broadcast of this yobbish act on Sunday's scheduled show. If the BBC goes ahead and broadcast, TfL is considering its legal options.
Rail closures - act now!
The closing date for the Strategic Rail Authority's (SRA) consultation on the inelegantly named West Midlands Route Utilisation Strategy is Friday 27 May. The SRA wants to close five "unprofitable" local stations in the Stoke-on-Trent to Stafford line, at Stone, Barlaston, Norton Bridge and Wedgwood, and another, at Polesworth, near Tamworth. 1000s of people have signed petitions calling for the stations to be kept open, in what is being seen as a test case of the SRA plans which could lead to the closure of small, local passenger stations all over the country. Send comments to the Rail Planning Manager, West Midlands RUS, Planning Department, Strategic Rail Authority, 55 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0EU, or by email to email@example.com. The SRA has promised to take account of a public meeting chaired by ITN's Nick Owen, four days after the consultation closes, at Barlaston village hall, on May 31, starting at 4pm. Contact 0870 336 6075 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Website for info on Local Transport Plans
A great website with info on Local Transport Plan (LTP) consultationsis at http://www.daveches.co.uk/ltp2.php. Please make sure that your local authority is not submitting a 'wish-list' of road schemes (most are!).
Durham Northern Bypass
In a blatant misuse of the new Transport Innovation Fund (TIF), designed for demand management schemes, Durham County Council are considering applying for a new road in their new Local Transport Plan (LTP2) - tagging road user charging onto it, to make it look green. A local authority version of the proposed tolled M6 Expressway?
Joint Beds / Bucks Local Transport Plan meeting
South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth are busy making sure that the mistake of the Linslade Bypass is not repeated. They have called a public meeting with both councils and train and bus companies represented to discuss future transport plans in the area that do no trely on trashing the countryside and bat habitats. The meeting is to be held on 25th May. Contact email@example.com
Regional transport groups
If you want to get involved with transport campaigning in your (English) region, there is a regional network of groups already set up called Transport Activists Roundtable (TAR for short).
North West TAR - firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
North East TAR - firstname.lastname@example.org
Yorkshire and Humber TAR - email@example.com
West Midlands TAR - firstname.lastname@example.org
East Midlands TAR - email@example.com
East of England TAR - firstname.lastname@example.org
South East TAR - email@example.com
South West TAR - firstname.lastname@example.org
PO Box 164, TOTNES, TQ9 5WX
01803 847649 / 07854 693067
road protests (current)
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