Council shelves £129m bypass schemes, citing 'climate emergency'

Chris Ames

Herefordshire County Council has shelved plans for a £129m bypass for the city of Hereford and a further link road to the south of the city.

John Harrington, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, said he had taken the decision to ‘pause and review the Hereford bypass and Southern link road schemes’.

The controversial two-lane bypass (above) to the west of Hereford would connect the A49 to the north of the town with the A465 to the south-west. The council’s preferred route is estimated to cost £129m.

It was one of 20 road projects sub-national transport body Midlands Connect said in April it wanted to see prioritised under the second national Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) from 2020-2025.

The £27m Southern Link Road (right) would continue the route across the south of Hereford to rejoin the A49, forming a full bypass of the city.

Cllr Harrington, from the It’s Our County party, said he had taken the decision ‘following a change of administration and with time to reflect…to allow further time to review these schemes in more detail and look at other options’.

In May, the Conservative Party lost control of the council, having lost more than half its seats.

Cllr Harrington said: ‘There are many complex issues that need to be considered and it is very important to examine these thoroughly.

‘The views of residents, commuters and local businesses are very important to us. It is vital that travel, transport and infrastructure developments in Hereford support the economy, help to improve health and wellbeing and make Herefordshire a better place to live, work and visit. We also need to ensure we effectively respond to the climate emergency declared by Herefordshire Council and the Government.’

He added: 'As part of this review it is important to consider alternative options. For example this will include infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians (including safe routes to school), an eastern river crossing and trialling the removal of some traffic signals. It could also include options for an electric bus service, improving school bus services and an ultra-light rail system.

‘All options need to be considered as we look to the long-term and towards providing a high quality, integrated and low carbon transport system for the whole of Herefordshire, not just for the immediate future but for generations to come.’

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