This is an archived press release
Friday 24 August 2007
24 August 2007
National Park Authority to present case at bypass inquiry
The Peak District National Park Authority will present its objections to a proposed A628 bypass and associated Glossop Spur when a public inquiry re-opens on September 4.
Though the Authority agrees that there is a need to relieve traffic congestion from three communities, it firmly believes the Highways Agency’s current proposals are not the right answer.
Calling for traffic-restraint measures to relieve congestion now, its prime concern is that the bypass and spur are predicted to cause an increase of 20% by 2015 in traffic crossing some of the most sensitive landscapes in the National Park.
Despite the Highways Agency adding extra traffic-restraint measures from the 2006 scheme to the 2007 scheme, the Authority believes it would still significantly harm the National Park.
Authority chair Narendra Bajaria said: “We recommend that the Secretary of State should refuse permission for these proposals for the bypass and spur. It is our duty to conserve and enhance the National Park. We have significant concerns about the major adverse landscape impact the scheme would have.
“We would urge the Highways Agency to introduce restraint and enhanced safety measures immediately, helping to deter cross-Park traffic and relieve some of the congestion. At the same time, the Highways Agency and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council should do a comprehensive assessment of the alternatives to a bypass and put forward the most appropriate scheme if it can occur with an acceptable environmental impact on the National Park.”
Both the A628 and its offshoot the A6024 pass through nationally-designated protected landscapes between Manchester and Sheffield, including Longdendale, Woodhead moors and Langsett.
These contain an internationally-important Special Protection Area, Special Area of Conservation and Site of Special Scientific Interest, all of high wildlife-value which the Authority is statutorily-bound to conserve and enhance.
In addition, four national trails cross the route, including the Pennine Way and the Trans-Pennine Trail, used by thousands of walkers, cyclists and riders each year. They would be deterred by extra traffic and the quality of the experience would be reduced.
The Authority states that any proposals should:
- assess alternatives as a comprehensive package, including a lorry-ban combined with speed-limits and public transport improvements.
- avoid significant increases in traffic through the National Park
- avoid serious impact on the landscape, ecology, tranquillity and access and recreational routes in the National Park
- avoid the potential for the Highways Agency to change or remove the traffic restraint measures at any time to the detriment of the National Park
The Authority first opposed the current bypass proposal in April 2006, during the Highways Agency’s initial public consultation, and reaffirmed its opposition in March this year, after being consulted on further proposals.
Since then a public inquiry opened in late June, and then recessed for the summer break at the end of July. It resumes on September 4, when it is hoped the Authority will be first to give evidence.
The Glossop Spur is predicted to further increase traffic within the National Park - on top of the predicted increase due to the bypass, which heightens the Authority’s concerns.
More information can be found on the Inquiry Website: http://www.persona.uk.com/mottram/index.htmor the Highways Agency website: http://www.highways.gov.uk/roads/projects/5515.aspx