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Roads to Nowhere

Campaign successes

While it's not easy to stop a road from being built or shift the Government away from road-building policies, we have seen some great campaigns and significant wins...

Combe Haven Defenders protest at the DfT to get documents releasedRoad-building is a growing problem across the country and we're working with campaigners locally and nationally to help reduce the damage.

New anti-road campaigns and alliances are growing up and becoming more active with our support. Despite the Government's new enthusiasm for road-building, and the revival of many 'zombie' road schemes campaigners have defeated in the past, we are seeing new successes too.

In recent years, road schemes have been defeated at public inquiries, rejected for Department for Transport funding and removed from local plans. Other schemes have been changed and planning applications delayed after fierce campaigns. Local communities have also forced new releases of information, achieved numerous front-page local news stories, and won acquittals in court for defending their local landscapes.

Westbury bypass campaigners celebrate victoryIn May 2014, the Transport Select Committee published two reports that were highly critical of the draft National Policy Statement for roads, the Government's plans to turn the Highways Agency into a company and – significantly – of the national traffic forecasts underlying the new roads programme - read more

A significant victory for local campaigners against the Westbury Bypass in April 2014, when a planning inspector told Wiltshire Council to remove the bypass from the 'saved policies' in its local plan - read more

In February 2014, a phenomenal response to our call to action contributed to a record 5,800 people taking a stand against the Government’s new planning policy for roads - read more

In April 2014, campaigners from local groups in Norwich and Norfolk teamed up to promote opposition to the Norwich Northern Distributor Road and a record number - more than 1,100 people - had registered as 'interested parties' by the deadline - watch a news report on the first day of the inquiry in June here

Witney campaigners flood the public inquiry - photo Rik MellisIn 2013, the Highways Agency also finally took air pollution from roads seriously in response to a court case brought by the Healthy Air Campaign (of which we are a member). In November, in a landmark change of approach, the Highways Agency cancelled plans to add new lanes to the M60 through Manchester because of concerns about air pollution and public health - read more

In May 2013, documents looking at the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road were finally released by the Department for Transport following protests in March and a Freedom of Information challenge by the Hastings Alliance, showing the road was approved despite being assessed as low value for money - read more in a front page Independent story

In the first half of 2013, business groups and cycling campaigners supported our call for a Road Repair and Renewal Fund to fix the potholes on local roads and the Chancellor promised new funding for road maintenance in his 2013 spending round - read our letters

In coalition with others, we also successfully fought off a new 80mph speed limit, first proposed in 2011, on safety and environmental grounds with ministers confirming the policy was dropped in February 2013 - read more

In 2012, a major victory was scored against a destructive new road in the Prime Minister's own constituency in Witney. Planning permission for the Cogges Link Road was rejected after a public inquiry and a strong local campaign by CPRE and Witney First. In Sheffield the Waverley Link Road was also refused Department for Transport funding and removed from its programme - see more about these successes

Read our guest blog posts from local campaigners:

Why I chose to join the fight against the link road - Tom Druitt from Brighton tells us why he is protesting to save the Combe Haven valley near Hastings from a damaging new road

Advice from a winning campaign - campaigners from Witney First tell us how they stopped a damaging new road in the Prime Minister's constituency

Dual carriageway paves way for Manchester Airport expansion - Kim Barrett from campaign group PAULA explains why you should join her in opposing the A6 to Manchester Airport Link Road

Marking twenty years since Twyford Down - Becca Lush Blum writes about her experiences at Twyford Down and the threat of new road-building plans

Huge Cheshire bypass is unnecessary and destructive - local campaigners tell us about their battle to stop a resurrected road project in the Chancellor's constituency

Earlier successes:

  • In October 2010 we worked with local residents to stop the £1.3bn A14 Ellington to Fen Ditton project in Cambridgeshire, saving countryside and thousands of tonnes of CO2.
  • In July 2010 the Shrewsbury Relief Road was scrapped after our campaigning with local residents in the No Way group.
  • In July 2009 the M4 motorway through the Gwent Levels Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) near Newport in Wales was stopped, thanks to the combined efforts of the CALM Alliance. The motorway would have devastated important wildlife sites, including six SSSIs.
  • In July 2009 campaigners finally convinced regional and central governments to drop the proposed £444 million A120 Braintree to Marks Tey scheme in Essex, which would have destroyed countryside and prime farming land, increasing traffic, noise and emissions.
  • In July 2009 local campaigners succeeded in stopping the proposed Westbury Bypass, when it was refused planning permission. For years we'd been supporting the local efforts to stop this road, which would have damaged the countryside around Westbury and done nothing to solve the town's traffic problems.
  • In February 2009, a disastrous road through the Peak District National Park was rejected for funding, and in March 2009 the Highways Agency abandoned their public inquiry. The A57/A628 Mottram-Tintwistle Bypass probably won't be built at all. We've been fighting this terrible road for many years, along with local groups Save Swallow's Wood and Friends of the Peak District.
  • In January 2009 we stopped £5 billion worth of motorway widening schemes on the M6, M1, M62 and M25, by persuading the Government to make better use of the existing roads. Together these schemes would have resulted in huge increases in CO2 and cost taxpayers £5bn.
  • In December 2008, Durham County Council dropped its plan to build a new road through Durham. A local group, Save the Valley, had been fighting the proposed road for three years because it would have destroyed Green Belt and ancient woodland and increased noise pollution – and done nothing to reduce congestion or to encourage more sustainable travel.
  • When first elected in 2008, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, dropped plans to build the Thames Gateway Bridge. The bridge was rejected by the public inquiry inspector in 2006, only for the Government to demand a new inquiry with a new inspector. The Mayor told the London Assembly that he was "not pursuing the current proposal" which was neither "well sited or well thought out".
  • In December 2007 the Government scrapped plans for a new and very controversial dual carriageway through the Stonehenge World Heritage Site after years of campaigning by Campaign for Better Transport and other groups. Instead they plan to implement small-scale improvements to existing roads, and possibly close the A344 which runs right through the stone complex.
  • Plans for a Harnham Relief Road and Brunel Link Road (also known as the Salisbury Bypass) have been rejected. The road would have destroyed water meadows near Salisbury Cathedral. Thankfully Wiltshire County Council has dropped the scheme and our local group is campaigning now for sustainable transport solutions instead.
  • In July 2006 we won a decade-long battle to stop the widening of the A47 Acle Straight in the Norfolk Broads when the Government announced it wouldn’t widen the road and would instead put money into improving the road’s safety.