Monday, 21 May 2012

M6 Link Plans under scrutiny as never before

As the Infrastructure Planning Commission begins its examination of the case for and against the proposed Heysham to the M6 Link Road, the opposition has assembled a strong and what it hopes will be a persuasive case against the road.

Local campaign group Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe has been the principal objector to the road for the past seven years, and has now completed the final touches to the arguments to be placed before the Examiner in the case. Written representations were submitted to the IPC before the 8th May deadline.

TSLM has been joined by respected national organisations Campaign to Protect Rural England and Campaign for Better Transport, and regional transport specialists North West Transport Roundtable, who agree that this road scheme is the wrong way forward, against national policy - and that there are better and cheaper ways to improve local traffic flow rather than the projects £120 million-plus the County Council want to spend on this bypass scheme.

TSLM say they have taken a wide overview of the proposals put forward by the road’s promoter, Lancashire County Council, but are placing particular emphasis on a number of specific strands of its argument against the road.

Members of TSLM, its allied organisations and individual experts, have placed some of these strands under the microscope and have put forward what they consider to be a highly compelling case against the road on a number of important grounds including a failure to reduce congestion and traffic levels in Lancaster; failure to bring the hoped-for jobs; minimal journey time savings; damage to the environment and wildlife; damaging impact on local people; and an increase in harmful pollution.

“£41 million per mile for a road that doesn’t solve congestion or bring jobs is not Value for Money,” argues David Gate, Chair of TSLM. “This road should be rejected: there are far better alternatives that are cheaper and would really work.”

The examination by the IPC will continue over the summer and end in October. Representations can be viewed here on the IPC web site and include responses from Heysham Port, the CPRE, NW TAR & CBT, traffic expert John Whitelegg and Jo Guiver from Halton Residents’ Group.

• Transport Solutions for Lancaster & Morecambe is the local campaign Group which opposes the construction of the Heysham M6 Link Northern Route, and favours instead non-damaging sustainable transport solutions for the 21st century. See website http://heyshamm6link.btck.co.uk/

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