Plans for a new dual carriageway cutting the Peak District National Park in half – that’s the latest plan from Transport for the North and Highways England supported by Sheffield City Region. We urge them to drop the idea and plan for managing the traffic and developing rail capacity for both people and freight.
Now that the long tunnel under the Park has been abandoned as too costly, the plan is now to wident the A628 Woodhead Pass into an expressway, a 2 or 3-lane dual carriageway, connecting the M67 and M1.
Even with a 5-6 mile tunnel under the most challenging terrain, an expressway would destroy habitats and tranquillity, increase carbon emissions, increase air, light and noise pollution, and add new intrusions on these beautiful landscapes.
It’s in Longdendale that the National Park Authority with its partners such as Moors for the Future, United Utilities and National Grid, has invested millions of pounds in enhancing scenic beauty, carbon storage and habitats, and in the removal of eyesores.
The environmental insult does not stop at the Park boundary. The Longdendale express-way would continue east across South Yorkshire to the A1M, M18 and M180 cutting across some of the most beautiful limestone landscapes.
In 50 years the decision makers have not yet learnt that the provision of more road capacity does not deliver a stable situation – the more capacity is increased, the more capacity increases are ‘needed’, as recent CPRE research has shown.
Let's make car free travel easier
The Campaign for National Parks recent report, "National Parks for all: Making car-free travel easier" identities lots of opportunities for improving sustainable travel to National Parks. It considers ways of increasing the range of options available as well as making the existing options easier for people to use, for example, through improved information and better integration between services. It also identifies what National Park Authorities (NPAs), local transport authorities, tourism organisations and others need to do to make car-free travel easier.
The report is based on a review of existing sustainable transport initiatives ranging from traditional bus and rail services to electric bikes and innovative new ideas, such as Vamooz which offers pre-bookable shared journeys to the Yorkshire Dales.
It may not be apparent in National Parks, but there is a revolution going on in transport at the moment with advances in technology resulting in the launch of lots of new services such as dockless bike hire and app-based shared services. Most of the initiatives launched so far are aimed at commuter journeys in urban areas but we think there is significant potential for these types of on-demand services to be used to improve access for visitors to National Parks.
So we support the CNP call to set up a ‘Smarter Travel National Park’ pilot to test some of these new types of app-based shared services alongside measures which discourage car use, such as road pricing and parking charges.
We also want the pilot to include the development of sustainable travel hubs - key centres within the Parks which offer a range of activities within one location and good access to other locations nearby. These hubs would be places where it is as easy as possible to have a great holiday without needing to use a car. The learning from this pilot would provide valuable lessons for other parts of the countryside as well as National Parks.
- NPAs should
- Work with local partners to identify and improve opportunities for visitors to get to particular locations without a car and secure the necessary funding for those improvements
- Provide high-quality, consistent and up-to-date information about options for car-free access
- Actively promote and update car-free guides and initiatives
- Work with local transport authorities, transport operators, accommodation providers and tourist attractions to tackle ‘the final mile' - the journey from the nearest station or major public transport interchange to a visitor’s final destination.
- Develop services such as luggage transfers, shuttle bus services and integrated ticketing
- The Government should
- Provide funding for a ‘smarter travel National Park’ pilot to test new types of on-demand app-based shared services and the use of travel demand management measures.
- Support the development of sustainable travel hubs
Over the next few months, we will be pushing for NPAs, the Westminster Government, the Welsh Government and others to make the changes we are calling for. Some of our recommendations are relatively easy to implement and could make a difference very quickly. Others such as the smarter travel pilot will take longer to deliver.
Read the full report here: www.cnp.org.uk/transport-research-fullreport
In the White Peak Wetton is a secluded tranquil path through a steep-sided limestone valley off the Manifold valley. The route joins Leek Road in the south with the tarmacked cul-de-sac at Manor House and offers a link with many other walks around Wetton Hill, including the Manifold Way.
Until recently the valley offered a rare treat of a grass path through a wildflower rich meadow but now motorcycles are creating well-worn earth ruts, particularly in the middle section of the lane and even during dry weather use. Voluntary restraint by motor vehicle users has been tried through the winter months but the route continues to deteriorate.
In order to protect the grass surface, the Peak District National Park Authority are now consulting on banning all recreational motor vehicles from using it with a traffic regulation order.
If you would like to support this order then please do write to the Authority. Details can be found here:
Deadline for responses: the 6th April 2018
Highways England have now started the six week statutory consultation on the upgrade to the A628 trunk road corridor. This includes a dual carriageway bypass of Mottram village from M67 junction 4 to a new roundabout on Mottram Moor; and a new A57(T) to A57 link single carriageway from a roundabout on Mottram Moor to a new junction on A57 near Woolley Bridge.
As with previous informal consultations there is very little evidence accompanying this application. A full application will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the end of the year for a Development Consent Order.
However, it is clear that the proposed scheme would only bypass Mottram cross-roads and do little to relieve the traffic conditions through Tintwistle, Hollingworth and up Mottram Moor until the roundabout is reached.
Traffic flows would increase through these villages and on roads across the Peak District National Park, including the A57 Snake Pass (one of the highest risk roads for crashes in the county). The impact on Langsett at the east end of the A628 is ignored.
Congestion in Glossop which is already severe would worsen leading to air and noise pollution, and increased risk of flooding.
This current proposal is an attempt to force the next step of a motorway by stealth across the Pennines – a major upgrade with a short tunnel under the most challenging terrain within the Park is being explored now by Transport for the North. The longer road tunnel with a dual carriageway which would have gone under the National Park has been abandoned.
If you would like to comment on the bypass of Mottram and its new link with the A57 beside the River Etherow you can find details here: http://roads.highways.gov.uk/projects/a57a628-trans-pennine-programme/
Deadline for responses: Monday 26th March 2018
We welcome the Westminster Government’s renewed focus on the state of the environment and we hope that today’s launch of the 25 Year Environment Plan will lead to stronger protection for, and improvements in, our National Parks.
Campaign for National Parks, which has campaigned for over 80 years to defend and enhance England and Wales’ National Parks, welcomes recognition by the Government for the beauty and contribution of high quality landscapes to the richness of our countryside.
From the confirmation of the first National Park in the Peak District in 1951, to England’s youngest National Park, the South Downs, in 2010, the creation of designated landscapes – which also include Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) – has been among the outstanding environmental achievements of the past 100 years. They provide a patchwork of stunning, and protected, landscapes.
Chief executive of Campaign for National Parks, Fiona Howie said: “National Parks are a national asset, providing space for wildlife, cultural heritage, recreation and spiritual wellbeing. I am pleased to see plans to enhance the quality of the landscapes and increase the amount of young people accessing National Parks.
We believe that there are huge benefits to the wellbeing of everyone as a result of access to our most beautiful landscapes. But this needs to be made possible without damaging the special qualities of these places.”
Proposals for National Parks include:
- A review of National Parks for the 21st century. This will look at how designated landscapes meet their responsibilities, how they are financed and scope for expansion.
- Working with National Park Authorities to continue to deliver the 8-Point Plan for National Parks 2016-2020.
- Aims to double the 60,000 young people a year engaging with National Park Authorities.
- Working to improve the environment of National Parks including the beauty of the landscape.
In her speech, the Prime Minister also gave assurances that environmental protections will not weaken following the UK’s exit from the European Union. Campaign for National Parks wants to see this commitment reflected in legislation: "Because we recognise their value, we will incorporate all existing EU environmental regulations into domestic law when we leave. And let me be very clear. Brexit will not mean a lowering of environmental standards".
“As the Prime Minister said in her speech, improving the health and diversity of our natural environment for future generations is crucial. The National Parks should have a key role to play in achieving this and we hope the propped review is a chance for government to identify opportunities to make the Parks more accessible, more beautiful and better protected," Fiona concluded.
Campaign for National Parks looks forward to further examining the implications of the 25 Year Environment Plan for National Parks.
We are very concerned about fracking company Ineos’ recent attempts to remove local decision-making powers from councils in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. Ineos, who applied earlier this year to drill exploratory wells near Eckington in NE Derbyshire and Harthill in Rotherham, have now asked the government to intervene on the grounds that the local councils have taken too long to decide.
These are complex cases where both councils must fully evaluate the likely impacts. To do this takes both time and care and the councils have had to ask Ineos to provide further environmental information. We think it both unfair and unreasonable for Ineos to now bypass that process. This disregard for local democracy is unacceptable.
Both drilling applications and the new appeals have ignited fury in local communities and with local politicians such as Sir Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley and Derbyshire County Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis. For the past year, CPRE South Yorkshire and Friends of the Earth’s regional staff have been supporting affected communities with planning and advocacy advice.
CPRE South Yorkshire is fully committed to helping local communities fight fracking and will work to ensure strong arguments are put to the forthcoming planning inquiries so that Ineos’ bully-boy tactics don’t succeed.
What’s wrong with Grand Northern? We believe it's a good idea but not easy to implement at this time.
We strongly support the aspiration to take lorries off the A628, reduce carbon emissions and air pollution, and alleviate conditions within the villages of Mottram Tintwistle and Hollingworth.
However re-opening Woodhead railway would take away the Trans-Pennine Trail, a fantastic walking/cycling/horse riding route which allows the less mobile to enjoy the National Park.
The Trail is also important for undergrounding of overhead high voltage lines east and west of the Woodhead tunnels. Dunford Bridge is blighted by pylons, the majority of which could be removed within the next few years.
Current investment by the Government on the A628 focuses on providing more road space which would only lead to more congestion, air pollution and vehicle collisions. As the A628 runs through a National Park much greater attention must be given to reducing traffic.
In order to connect Manchester and Sheffield city centres we need improved rail links which are integrated with enhanced public transport within city regions: this means user-friendly, joined-up networks, involving frequent rail services, light rail and bus, all supported by smart, multi-modal ticketing with simplified fares. Committing to the Hope Valley rail upgrade, for which we have been waiting for an announcement for over a year, would be a start.
With these alternatives in place demand for road space should be managed in order to reduce travel by car. Rail freight needs a Liverpool to Hull route, with short sea shipping encouraged for longer journeys.
If you remember two things after reading this article, we hope they are these. Firstly, there’s no conflict between solving the housing crisis and protecting rural areas – we can and must do both. Secondly, developers can make more profit by building expensive homes than by building affordable ones – and that is the problem at the heart of the crisis.
In Sheffield, as in many other towns and cities, there is no shortage of brownfield land. Some of it is derelict, much more is simply under-used: wasted under acres of surface car-parking around low density retail parks. Re-using this land for new neighbourhoods would not only avoid the city sprawling out into the countryside, but would also breathe new life into run-down areas. Great progress is already being made on this around Kelham Island, but vast areas of the Don Valley from Deepcar all the way to Darnall could benefit from regeneration. The vital missing ingredient to make that happen is public investment: to buy and decontaminate land, reduce flood risk, put in public transport and green spaces, and build homes that people need. As long as the government fails to provide for that investment, we don’t accept that they are genuinely committed to solving the housing crisis.
The only way to solve the housing crisis is to build affordable homes, mainly for social rent. Research by Shelter, the homelessness charity, confirms this. Giving planning permissions to private housebuilders on greenfield sites doesn’t fix the problem, because there’s a natural incentive for them to build large, expensive homes and minimise their contribution to affordability. We’ve seen this happen in many places across Sheffield, and every time a site is developed without building affordable homes, the long-term problem just gets worse.
Most rural land in Sheffield is in the Green Belt, which isn’t just an empty space outside the city, but a vital resource of green spaces bringing the countryside into the city, especially along the river valleys from the Peak District. This has huge benefits for recreation, health, tourism, nature and local food production, and these are all essential for the economy too. CPRE’s Blueprint for Sheffield’s Green Belt sets out our vision for the future: build the right homes in the right places, regenerate urban areas, and enhance our beautiful countryside. It can all be done.
Please support out Green Belt Appeal - click here to donate.
We are absolutely delighted by Derbyshire County Council’s decision to consult on a traffic regulation order (TRO) that would ban off-road vehicles from Jacob’s Ladder in Stoney Middleton.
The arguments for a full TRO between the Nook in Stoney Middleton and New Road to Eyam were all made forcefully in DCC’s report. We congratulate Cllr Spencer, Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure for making this difficult decision.
But it is the right one. The lane is completely unsuitable for off-roading. The experience of its peace and quiet has long been denied to local residents and National Park visitors due to speeding vehicles. It was once a cobbled route on which families with small children felt safe. But with trail bikes suddenly appearing round blind bends on a steep hill, and with no refuges on such a narrow passage few dare use it. Damage to the surface of the lane has also been severe leaving tree roots exposed and ruts, adding to the danger for vulnerable users.
With Stoney Middleton Parish Council and Peak District Green Lanes Alliance, with whom we have campaigned for this result, we now look forward to responding to the statutory consultations that are required before such an order can be made.
Here's the DCC announcement www.derbyshire.gov.uk