Campaigners want ‘damaging’ £500m A417 proposals dropped

05/04/2018
Chris Ames

A county council has backed Highways England's plans for the A417 'missing link' in the Cotswolds despite environmental campaigners objecting to it in the ‘strongest possible terms’.

As Highways has reported previously, the government-owned company will have to ask the transport secretary for specific permission to move forward with one of its preferred options, which have been assessed as providing ‘poor’ and ‘low’ value for money respectively.

Campaign for Better Transport (CfBT) said the case for the new road is very poor and that if it were to go ahead in the proposed form it could set a dangerous precedent to building in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Roads campaigner Chris Todd questioned the consultation process and added: ‘These highly damaging proposals should be dropped immediately. Removing all tunnel options from the consultation by imposing an arbitrary spending limit and effectively only consulting on one option is excluding the public from helping shape the outcome. This is not an acceptable way for public money to be spent.

‘Highways England's preferred option would cause significant damage to the Cotswolds AONB. It clearly fails the major development test and would set a dangerous precedent for damaging development elsewhere. Highways England needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with something far better, including spending the money improving public transport and shifting freight from road to rail.'

Gloucestershire County Council strongly supports the proposals however, specifically Option 30 (pictured), a 3.4-mile surface route following the alignment of the existing A417 at Crickley Hill with less of a slope.

Although this option would cost £485m and provide a ‘low’ return of investment of £1.04, Highways England has said that it ‘is the only route to offer positive value for money, meaning that the return on investment is estimated to be higher than the initial cost’.

Cllr Lynden Stowe, chairman of Gloucestershire’s Economic Growth Joint Committee and cabinet member for economic development, said: ‘As lead cabinet member I support route option 30 as we continue to push for a solution to the A417 missing link.’

The ‘missing link’ is a 5km stretch of single carriageway on the A417, with the remaining route between the M4 at Swindon and M5 at Gloucester being dual carriageway. A consultation on Highways England’s plans closed last week.

Highways England has previously said that its two proposed options would provide a number of benefits, all of which would enhance the area’s economy.

Highways jobs

Team Leader NRSWA & Traffic Management

Bedford Borough Council
£37,107 - £41,846 per annum
To Manage a team carrying out the Councils duties under the Traffic Management Act and the New Roads and Street Works Act. Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Strategic Director - Regeneration & Environment

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
Competitive Salary
As the Strategic Director of Regeneration & Environment, you’ll be part of the strategic corporate leadership team Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Senior/Principal Highway Network Management Officer

Bristol City Council
£30,746 - £37,107
These are exciting times in Bristol, as there is considerable investment in its transport and highway infrastructure in recent years City of Bristol
Recuriter: Bristol City Council

Head of Property, Planning and Public Protection

Powys County Council
Head of Service 2 £66,854 - £73,540 per annum
Powys County Council, open and enterprising Llandrindod Wells, Powys
Recuriter: Powys County Council

Senior Engineer

Wirral Borough Council
£30,756 to £33,136
No holding back. No excuses. Just change Wirral. Bring it on. Wirral, Merseyside
Recuriter: Wirral Borough Council

Chief Executive

Epping Forest District Council
up to £120k
A role with roots in our community. Epping, Essex
Recuriter: Epping Forest District Council

Housing Renewal Technical Officer

Torridge District Council
£21,074 — £26,470 per annum
Advice to private sector tenants, landlords, & owner-occupiers about housing disrepair & energy issues. Bideford, Devon
Recuriter: Torridge District Council

Principal Traffic Engineer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£34,106 - £37,107 - PO6/SCP 38
To provide project leadership on the design, implementation and project management on major traffic Engineering schemes. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Funeral Assistant

Brent Council
£28,356 - £30,108 p.a. inc. plus Standby Allowance
Salary range
Recuriter: Brent Council

Area Engineer

Camden London Borough Council
£31,836 to £36,931
Does a combination of outdoor and office based work appeal to you? Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Download your Highways App

Google App Apple App

Highways on Fridays

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Includes:

  • Interviews with Jesse Norman and Jim O'Sullivan
  • Michael Matheson on road safety in Scotland
  • Traffex Road Expo Scotland review
View the latest issue

Latest Video