Sunday, 15 July 2012

Last chance to air the pros and cons of Link Road?

After a week of “Issue Specific” hearings into the proposed Heysham M6 Link at Lancaster Town Hall, Lancashire County Council has had to admit much that harms the case for this damaging road, say campaigners for alternatives to the planned £123 million pound scheme.

Local people are now being given an opportunity to talk directly to the Examiner at the Inquiry into the Heysham M6 Link Road. Formerly the IPC, the national planning forum has just been renamed as the National Infrastructure Directorate and is continuing the examination of the case for and against the proposal.

During proceedings, say Transport Solutions for Lanaster and Morecambe, the County Council has revealed the Link road is not intended to solve Lancaster’s problems; the traffic forecasts used at the Public Inquiry in 2007 got it wrong by 20-30 per cent, and there is no guarantee that they are right this time.

In addition, the latest traffic forecasts are based on 2008 data. It is not acceptable for a project costing £123 million of public money to go ahead based on information that is so out of date. Carbon emissions, which are closely related to traffic, went down 10 per cent in Lancaster in the period 2005-09.

It's also been acknowledged that overall, the planned road will increase pollution in the area and prevents progress on reducing emissions to stop climate change.

The Council has also been taken to task because non-road alternatives to thevLink project must be properly described and evaluated - and they have not been.

Campaigners argue this makes it all the more important that those who have raised concerns about the County Council plans come to the “Open Floor Hearings” and tell the Examiner, Mr Robottom, what you think are the damaging impacts of the road on your community and the Lancaster and Morecambe district.

It is believed people will be given up to 15 minutes to make their points to the Examiner and there will be no cross-examination, making it a much more comfortable experience for people to put over their views.

TSLM is urging residents of Torrisholme and any other affected areas to turn up on the day and show the Examiner the strength of feeling about what is seen by many people as this expensive, unnecessary and damaging road.

The campaign group says that some people feel that the result of the Inquiry is a foregone conclusion (which is certainly what Lancashire County Council would have everyone believe) but TSLM warns against complacency and states that there are already opportunities for the principal supporters and objectors to have their say on a range of specific and important subjects. However, the “Open Floor” hearings are not intended for those organisations.

"This may be your last chance to influence the decision," urges TSLM chair David Gate.

"It's very important for those people that feel strongly about this road to come along and make the Examiner very aware of how strongly local people oppose the road.

"We want the Examiner to know that it is not just vested interests that can have a say but that local residents can play an important and influential role in the new planning process.”

Those registered as “interested parties” will have priority, but others may be able to speak too at meetings scheduled at 9.30am on Tuesday 17th July; and at Torrisholme Methodist Church on Wednesday 18th July at 2.00 and 6.30 pm.

If you are registered, you should tell the IPC that you intend to speak, and briefly what about. Contact the Case Officer, Kathrine Haddrell, by telephone 0303 444 5043 or by email: HeyshamM6LinkATinfrastructure.gsi.gov.uk

Quote project Reference TR010008 and your Unique reference number.

If you are not registered, it is a public meeting, please come and you may be able to speak, if you wish.

- M6 Link alternatives and other information in the M6 link plans can be found at: http://heyshamm6link.btck.co.uk/

 

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