Update 8 May 2012: A pre-planning consultation on the bus rapid transit and road proposals has been launched. The plans can be seen in full online and at exhibitions around the area:
The deadline for the consultation is 29th June 2012.
Update 29 November 2011: The Chancellor's Autumn Statement announced approval for 20 of the Development Pool schemes, including - disastrously - the South Bristol Link Road. There's a long way to go before this damaging road can be built but, along with local campaigners, we're very disappointed at this short-sighted decision to fund it.
Cutting through green space in Bristol.
This road was originally called the South Bristol Ring Road and was planned as a dual carriageway in three stages cutting though the green belt and the residential areas of Highridge, Bishopsworth , Hartcliffe and Whitchurch. Stage 3 was dropped after public opposition and the road was renamed the ‘South Bristol Link’.
It is now planned as a 5km single carriageway road, with a Bus Rapid Transit attached. The road and BRT are being promoted to ‘improve access to Central Bristol and to the strategic road network’. Another stated aim of the scheme is improve access to Bristol Airport, which has been granted permission to expand its capacity to 10 million passengers a year.
Why this is a road to nowhere:
Local campaigners believe this approach to local transport is completely wrong. The proposers of the scheme – a coalition of local authorities called the West of England Partnership (WEP) – have put five proposed schemes into the development pool. The SBLR is by far the worst scheme of the five.
The Transport for Greater Bristol Alliance (TfGB) is opposing the South Bristol Link Road.
"We are dismayed that the Department for Transport has agreed to fund the South Bristol Link Road. We will continue to oppose a major new road through the city's south west greenbelt with its loss making Bus Rapid Transit. Our groups will be meeting to discuss further action which is likely to include discussions with Bristol City Council. We will continue to propose Portishead rail reopening as an alternative scheme which we believe has greater public support."
Instead of the SBL road, TfGB have proposed that the WEP should apply to the DfT for funding for the reopening of the Portishead rail line with new stations at Ashton Gate, Portishead and Pill instead. In Jan 2010,they sent over 1,000 postcards to the four Executive Members of WEP asking them to switch from the SBL to Portishead. They declined. TfGB do not consider that Bristol Council can afford the £42m local contribution required for three BRTs and believe this scheme should now be dropped.
TfGB has been campaigning for an Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) for the whole West of England area since 2006. An ITA would be champion of public transport, with powers over rail and bus services, could plan 'integrated' schemes and would give a higher profile to public transport across a wide area.
Campaigners have shown that local people would welcome an ITA for Bristol. Bristol City Councillors also unanimously passed a motion in favour of considering an ITA in 2007, and local bus companies First and Wessex Connect support the idea. The local paper the Evening Post is mounting a current campaign in favour of an ITA.
Campaign for Better Transport's view:
The Development Pool 'comments period' for people to send in their views to the Department for Transport ended on 14 October 2011.
Campaign for Better Transport submitted a response urging the government to support public transport, not roads, to better support the economy, jobs, health and social goals.
Drawing on the views of expert consultants and local campaigners, we also submitted detailed objections to the South Bristol Link Road proposal.
Promoted by: Bristol City Council / North Somerset Council / West of England Partnership
Total cost: £43.1m
Cost per metre: £8,620
Amount requested from the government: £27.6m
Local authority contribution: £15.5m (an increase of £6.4m since January)
Latest documents produced by the Council: http://www.travelplus.org.uk/best-and-final-bids
Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a charity (1101929) and a company limited by guarantee (4943428)