Last month thousands joined our online action, calling on the Government to protect National Parks and other protected sites from major new roads.
One such threat is the proposal for new road building around Mottram Moor in the Peak District, as Anne Robinson from Friends of the Peak District explains in this guest blog.
Highways England have now started a 6-week statutory consultation on the upgrade to the A628 trunk road corridor. This includes a dual carriageway bypass of Mottram village from M67 J4 to a new roundabout on Mottram Moor; and a new A57(T) to A57 link single carriageway from a roundabout on Mottram Moor to a new junction on A57 near Woolley Bridge.
The route would run straight through the green fields in the photo on the right.
As with previous informal consultations there is very little evidence on which to make an informed opinion. A full application will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the end of the year for a Development Consent Order.
However, it is clear that the proposed scheme would only bypass Mottram cross-roads and do little to relieve the traffic conditions through Tintwistle, Hollingworth and up Mottram Moor until the roundabout is reached. Traffic flows would increase through these villages and on roads across the Peak District National Park, including the A57 Snake Pass one of the highest risk roads for crashes in Derbyshire. The impact on Langsett at the east end of the A628 is ignored. Congestion in Glossop which is already severe would worsen leading to air and noise pollution, and increased risk of flooding.
Mottram sits at the eastern end of the M67, an abortive attempt by the Government of the 1960s to connect Manchester and Sheffield with a fast all-weather route. This current proposal is yet another attempt to force the next step in a motorway across the Pennines – a major upgrade with a short tunnel under the most challenging terrain within the Park is being explored now by Transport for the North. The longer road tunnel with a dual carriageway which would have gone under the National Park has been abandoned. The Hollingworth Tintwistle bypass is also being recommended by Transport for the North to Highways England for inclusion in the Road Investment Strategy 2.
These proposals, which would link into the proposed Mottram bypass, would devastate the Peak District National Park and its surrounding countryside.
However, leaving aside whether or not an exemplar design could create a motorway across the Park that would pass the stringent test set by the Park, the principle of a new road in a well-connected country such as England is a non-starter. CPRE’s recent 'End of the Road' report merely restates the well substantiated arguments: new roads generate new traffic which increases carbon emissions, they don’t help the economy, they just move the problem somewhere else and they lead to car-dependent new developments. In a few years’ time the new road bypassing Mottram will be as congested as the existing road and will fuel demand for yet more road building. Not only is Highways England’s approach unacceptable; the outcome it intends to achieve is also unacceptable.
If you would like to comment on the bypass of Mottram and its new link with the A57 beside the River Etherow you can find details here. Deadline for responses is Monday 26th March 2018.