Conservation groups raise concerns about the proposed A417 road scheme – and you can have your say
PUBLISHED: 11:00 15 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:57 19 February 2018
Highways England is inviting people to have their say on plans to upgrade the A417 near Birdlip on a vital South West route
The National Trust and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust have today raised significant concerns about Highways England proposed options to improve the A417 at the Air Balloon roundabout
They have called on the road scheme to have better funding so that Highways England are able to deliver their vision for a scheme that brings benefits for the environment, for tourism, for the local community and those who use the road.
The charities are concerned that the options currently presented do not deliver on Highways England’s own design principles or the Government’s own 25 Year Environment Plan, launched in January by the Prime Minister.
In a joint statement Roger Mortlock, Chief Executive, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and Jonny Loose, General Manager, National Trust said: “We fully accept the existing road needs improving but while we were encouraged to see a robust vision for a landscape-led road scheme, we do not believe the route options currently presented reflect the vision for a scheme that is appropriate within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.’
“Highways England has shown that a tunnel here could be the best solution. We believe a huge opportunity has been missed to seek the public’s opinion on the best of the tunnel options and call for an additional consultation so that a tunnel option is back on the table.
“The current options risk causing significant harm to the landscape; being more visibly intrusive, severing links between delicate wildlife habitats and increasing noise and air pollution. At this stage, there is no evidence of how this harm will be reduced, nor appreciation for the level of mitigation needed to balance the extensive new infrastructure in these proposals.’
Project manager Mike Goddard said: “This is your opportunity to get involved in developing the right solution for this well-known Gloucestershire traffic hotspot. We urge everyone to tell us what they think of the two proposals so we can deliver a scheme that will support growth and prosperity.
Consultation starts today, Thursday 15 February and will continue until Thursday, March 20.
Public exhibitions will be held at:
• Saturday February 17 2018 11am – 6pm National Star College, Ullenwood,GL53 9QU.
• Thursday February 22 2018 12pm – 8pm Elkstone Village Hall, Hill View, Elkstone, GL53 9PB
• Friday February 23 2018 11am – 6pm Witcombe and Bentham Village Hall, Pillcroft Road, Witcombe, GL3 4TB
• Saturday February 24 2018 11am – 6pm St Andrews Church Hall, Montpellier Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1SP
• Sunday March 4 2018 11am – 6pm GL1 Leisure Centre, Bruton Way, Gloucester, GL1 1DT
• Thursday, March 8 2018 12 noon – 8pm Henley Bank High School (formerly Millbrook Academy) Mill Lane, Brockworth, GL3 4QF
Consultation booklets and feedback forms will also be available at the following public information points:
• Crickley Hill Visitor Centre, Crickley Hill, Birdlip GL4 8JY
• Gloucester Library, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1HT
• Cheltenham Library, Clarence Street, Cheltenham GL50 3JT
• Cirencester Library, The Waterloo, Cirencester GL7 2PZ
• Stroud Library, Landsdown, Stroud GL5 1BB
• Hucclecote Library, Hucclecote Road, Gloucester GL3 3RT
• Brockworth Community Library, Moorfield Road, Brockworth GL3 4ET
• Coleford Library, The Main Place, Old Station Way, Coleford GL16 8RH
• Gloucestershire County Council, Shire Hall, Westgate Street, Gloucester GL1 2TG
• Cotswold District Council, Trinity Road, Cirencester GL7 1PX
• Tewkesbury Town Hall, High Street, Tewkesbury GL20 5AL
For further information on the consultation, visit the consultation page here.