The local Green Party has condemned the government's decision to press ahead with the Heysham M6 Link Road, arguing it will not solve Lancaster's traffic problems, will add extra traffic - not less - and is a waste of money at a time of major public spending cuts.
The Secretary of State, Patrick McLoughlin announced that the Heysham M6 Link Road will be built at a cost of over £120 million of public money for under three miles of road. The Green Party has argued for many years that the HM6L is a huge waste of money and will not improve traffic conditions in Lancaster or reduce congestion on Morecambe Road.
"The decision to go ahead is very bad news indeed," said a spokesperson for the party, agreeing on concerns raised by Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe that it will not solve Lancaster’s traffic problems. "This was acknowledged in a County Council statement at the recent public inquiry."
"At a time of financial stringency and hugely damaging budgets cuts it is a mis-use of scarce public money," they continued. "It adds extra traffic to Morecambe Road (up 15%), A6 at Slyne (up 46%) and Church Brow in Halton (up 44%). It destroys the green belt and adds to air pollution and greenhouse gases, both of which we are supposed to be reducing.
"Despite claims that it will create jobs there is little evidence that any road project has led to new employment once the construction phase is finished. The government’s own research says that there is no “convincing” evidence of job creation claims."
"Spending this much money on something that the County Council admits will not solve our congestion problems is a damning indictment of this coalition government," argues County Councillor Sam Riches, "who are bringing forward savage cuts in budgets that will damage so many people, especially the ill, the poor, children and the elderly."
“The Green Party wants a 21st century solution to Lancaster’s traffic problems and not a re-hash of poor quality 20th century thinking," added Gina Dowding, a former city councillor and candidate in the forthcoming county council election. "We support TSLM's detailed package of measures costing £40 million (PDF link) that will solve our traffic problems and benefit everyone with much improved transport options.
"The county council and the coalition government have rejected common sense and gone for the most expensive and least effective solution they could think of.”