Too many cars and lorries in the wrong place at the wrong time ruin the countryside we love. They are noisy and polluting, and spoil many people's enjoyment of the Peak District. As climate change is the biggest threat to our landscapes, reducing traffic is also crucial in cutting carbon emissions and slowing the threat.
The Trans-Pennine Corridor
There is an imbalance between North and South in the funding of transport – here in the north, for too long, there has been a lack of investment and inequality of provision resulting in revenue shortfall and a need for subsidy. But when investment proposals do come forward (usually from decisions taken in London) they are usually for schemes which worsen sustainability and carbon, and still fail to ‘close the gap’. And because the decision making, policy, scheme assessment, planning and consultation frameworks are now so inadequate, projects can no longer be tested effectively.
For more information, visit the new Transport~North website for sustainable transport against north-south imbalance www.transportnorth.org.uk
The Hope Valley Rail Loop
Improvements to rail capacity and services are important for reducing pressure on the roads, so in principle we support Network Rail’s proposed upgrade of the Hope Valley line, despite the fact that it's in the Peak Park. The proposed passing loops are part of the Northern Hub investment project to improve connectivity across the Southern Pennines and allow faster services between Manchester and Sheffield to overtake stopping passenger trains and freight trains. This will help keep car commuters and heavy lorries off the Peak District roads.
However, although the development at Dore just east of the Totley tunnel is not controversial and we support it, its sister loop, now proposed between Bamford and Hathersage in the Peak District National Park is. Technical requirements to ensure slow freight and stopping trains are not caught up by fast trains has dictated the final location is as near as possible to the Midland mainline in the east and this new location avoids destroying ancient woodland and invading the National Trust’s Longshaw estate.
However any major development within the National Park must pass a rigorous test to show that it would be in the public interest and that exceptional circumstances require it to be in within the National Park.
We agree that the scheme appears to be in the public interest because of the benefits it would bring as part of the Northern Hub development. However we have yet to be convinced that the Hope Valley route is the most appropriate route and that exceptional circumstances require the passing loop to be within the National Park. For example the cost of, and scope for, re-routing freight trains outside the Park must be fully explored and the Hope Valley improvements must be considered in the context of emerging national considerations such as the Government’s HS3 plans and the Northern Powerhouse’s focus on rail connectivity.
We therefore presented evidence at the public inquiry in May 2016, alongside local people. It was disappointing to find that none of the local authorities, including the National Park Authority, felt that the evidence required further scrutiny through the inquiry. We now wait to see if the Transport & Works Act Draft Order is confirmed or not.
What else are we doing?
For decades our main transport campaign has been trying to solve the traffic problems on the A628 Trans-Pennine route in a way that doesn't just shift cars and lorries to somewhere else in the Peak District. We're still working with a coalition of other groups on the proposed Mottram Bypass and Glossop Spur.
- We support improvements to local bus and train services which encourage people to travel without using a car
- We lobby for slower speed limits in the countryside to make our roads safer - especially for other users including cyclists, horse-riders and walkers
- We support local food networks to support the rural economy and reduce the impact of food miles
- We monitor the countryside for roadside clutter, and work to improve design and reduce its impact
Have a look at our Transport policy for more details.
Three things you can do this week to help us reduce the impact of traffic on the countryside...
- When you next visit the Peak District, use the bus, train or cycle instead of going by car
- Check food labels for the place of origin - and then buy local rather than imported food
- Drive 5 mph more slowly and smoothly on rural roads to save petrol and cut emissions