Our alternative options to achieve the objectives of the study
Friends of the Peak District and CPRE South Yorkshire have campaigned for sustainable trans-Pennine travel since the 1970s in the face of plans for a motorway through Longdendale, then a dual carriageway and finally a bypass of the western villages. All these schemes were rejected because of their impacts on the Peak District National Park.
However alternative solutions to address the problems along the route have not been progressed and the A57/A628/A616 trunk road, which connects the M67 in Manchester and the M1 in South Yorkshire, has retained its reputation as one of the most notorious and longstanding road hot spots in the country.
This year the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency have once again been reviewing the problems along the route through the Trans-Pennine Routes Feasibility Study. The aim of the study is to improve connectivity between Manchester and Sheffield.
The key problems that need addressing are (a) congestion through Mottram Hollingworth and Tintwistle, (b) air and noise pollution and (c) safety issues along the whole route. As a result of generous funding from Lush the Friends of the Peak District were able to present a solution for consideration.
We appointed Keith Buchan of MTRU to develop a deliverable, affordable package of sustainable transport measures that would meet all the study objectives, allow the Friends to engage as stakeholders in the study and address the problems along the route. A viable package that meets all these criteria has been shown in the report to provide economic and environmental benefits, including traffic relief on the roads through the Peak District National Park.
The proposed measures include:
- Smarter choices – improved public transport, cycling and walking – for local journeys
- Re-routing of through traffic by heavy lorries onto the motorway network surrounding the Peak District (M1/M62/M60/M6/A50).
- With reduced car and lorry traffic on the route, traffic restraint measures such as slower speeds and average speed cameras would be applied and road space would be re-allocated for active travel and public transport.
This package of measures has an estimated BCR (Benefit Cost Ratio) of 15.1 over 10 years which compares favourably with that of the most recent road building option presented in 2007 (the Mottram Tintwistle bypass) which had a BCR of 2.25.
The estimated £2 million cost of the package also compares favourably with the £300-400 million costs of the road schemes currently being worked up through the study.
The report is now with the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency who have to date appeared unwilling to consider alternatives to major road building. We await their response with interest.
To read the full report, you can download it here.