Hereford Relief Road Could be a Monumental Waste of Money!
A new report out today will further increase pressure on Herefordshire Council to examine a real alternative to its relief road scheme. Local groups say alternative could tackle congestion more effectively than the road proposal while still allowing for the growth sought by Council.
They warn that the Council is potentially risking hundreds of millions of pounds of local taxpayers money if it does not heed laws requiring it to test alternatives.
They point to:-
• Money already spent on developing and consulting on the local development framework (£1.5million to date), which hit a wall last year due in part due to the unpopularity of the road proposal — the Council will restart the consultation on Monday the 26th of September with the road proposal intact.
• More money spent on the consultation starting next week. The plan is likely to fail at Inquiry if alternatives are not properly tested in accordance with planning law.
• Money that could be wasted road planning and construction costs if the relief road scheme is stopped due to well founded court challenges. Road schemes that threaten to damage habitats protected by EU law have been stopped by the courts, even though construction had already begun.
• Money wasted on a ‘white elephant’ of a road that will not solve congestion problems but will burden county tax payers, like the Rotherwas Relief Road —
only 10 times worse.
The relief road will cost over £100m on current estimates. The alternative suggested in the report would be far less costly and less environmentally damaging, offering better conditions for all road users, including car drivers.
The report’s author, Keith Buchan of the London based consultancy MTRU (Metropolitan Transport Research Unit) said:
‘It is surprising that there has so far been no published test of a sustainable package with no Relief Road”
Herefordshire Council insist that sustainable measures are needed to support the road. The report’s findings turn this view on its head: “The question that has not been answered is whether road building is an essential accompaniment to a sustainable transport package.”
The report predicts that congestion would stabilise or fall ‘even taking into account population growth and new development’ if the right combination of policies for walking, cycling and public transport were pursued
Buchan made a site visit to Hereford at the beginning of September and saw conditions for himself, including traffic congestion associated with the school run.
Liz Morawiecka of Here for Hereford said: “Here for Hereford want the best solutions for tacking congestion in Hereford, and tackling it NOW. We feel that all of Herefordshire will pay too high a price for the continuing mistakes of Herefordshire Council.”
To read the full MTRU 2011 report just click on this link
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