Memorandum submitted by Alternative Proposals
on Transport and Save Swallows Wood
Alternative Proposals on Transport are a locally
based group set up six years ago in response to local feeling
against the proposed Mottram/Tintwistle Bypass. Since then we
have campaigned against the Bypass as a damaging scheme which
does not solve local problems and will greatly increase air pollution
locally and regionally. For the last three years we have worked
in tandem with another local group Save Swallows Wood. We have
a membership of several hundred.
The A57/A628 roads run through the Longdendale
Valley alongside the villages of Mottram, Hollingworth and Tintwistle.
The A628 is the eastern continuation of the A57 trunk road and
runs through the Peak District National Park to Penistone and
Barnsley. This road is narrow, twisting and one of the most dangerous
roads in the country. It would be very difficult to upgrade it
as it perches part-way up a hillside and the area is prone to
landslides. (We have had two in the last five years.)
About thirty years ago a private consortium
motorway through Longdendale and the Peak Park was put forward.
Since that time various proposals have been on the table for a
motorway to continue the M67 which finishes at Hattersley west
of the valley.
Also since that time the M62 motorway has been
built which was predicted to remove heavy traffic from the unsuitable
A628 but this did not occur, we are in fact a rat-run for HGVs.
On 31 January Draft Orders were published for
a scheme to build a "bypass" from the M67 extending
1.4 km into the Peak District National Park. Highly restricted
public consultation began in 1992 with the "choice"
of two almost equally bad routes being offered. Both were wholly
within the valley which has an inversion layer over it and is
already an ozone blackspot. It was put forward as relief for those
living alongside the present A57 and A628. We expect that we will
be allowed a Public Enquiry but should this "bypass"
be built it will devastate several working farms along the north
side of the valley together with a high quality local nature reserve
and SSSI sites. It will also completely alter the water table
of an already unstable hillside with large quantities of artesian
water present and the associated spur road is planned to bisect
our only remaining flood plain.
According to Highways Agency figures the proposed
Mottram/ Tintwistle Bypass would increase CO2 emissions
by 7% from 2004-10. Present cost £110 million. There are
viable alternatives which would not result in additional CO2
growth. This proposed bypass represents the gap between Government
intent to reduce greenhouse gases and the policy on the ground
which fosters increased dependence on road transport with its
The DoT is supposed to have a strategy underpinned
by a coherent range of activities. From the evidence of the Bypass
Environmental Study Document this is not so. The proposed bypass
does nothing to reduce carbon levels, rather it increases them.
The Highways Agency itself states that the scheme,
if built, would increase traffic and increase all pollutants both
local and national. (see Annexextracts from Highways Agency
document- Air Pollutants and their effects)
The UK has both short and long-term targets
for CO2 reduction. Any scheme which is forecast to
increase CO2 for the short-term (2010) will of necessity
contribute to difficulty in meeting the longer term targets. They
forecast a 7% increase in CO2 if the bypass is built.
In this area we also have a marked ozone problem which the bypass
will do nothing to relieve.
The main justifications put forward are congestion,
economic development and improving environment for houses alongside
A57 and A628 roads.
High concentrations of NO2 on
Mottram Moor (A57) and Woodhead Road (A628) are attributed to
The Mottram/Tintwistle bypass has several alternatives
which could contribute to solving the problems of economic development
needs, congestion and improving air quality without spending the
proposed 110 million and rising cost of this bypass.
We maintain that the Highways Agency has never
seriously considered alternatives to a bypass as their first commitment
is to get roads built. In the last ten years both rail and road
management proposals have been put forward to LAs and HA but have
been rejected in favour of road building. In that time local public
transport has been seriously downgraded and local building, in
line with County plans, considerably increased.
The third Woodhead Tunnel was constructed in
the 1950s to then Continental standards, electrified in the 1970s
and closed in 1982. It took enormous amounts of freight and ferried
passengers between Manchester and Sheffield. It could still do
so if the political will existed to reopen it.
Arriva proposed to reopen Woodhead
and offer passenger rail service between Manchester and Sheffield.
Central Rail proposed to reopen
the Woodhead Tunnel as part of a Manchester-Lille long-distance
service. They offered a high-speed north-south network enabling
transpennine rail-freight (piggy-back lorries on flatbeds) service
plus a passenger capability.
Translink (local consortium)
proposed to reopen Woodhead tunnel as a rail-freight link with
rolling stock carriage from M1 to M60.
Surveys of local residents and a wider ranging
survey conducted by MVA Associates on behalf of South Pennines
Integrated Transport all showed reopening Woodhead rail line as
the most favoured option.
CPRE commissioned an independent
study into feasibility of restricting some roads to allow weight
restrictions on A628 thus removing HGVs back on to motorway network.
(Highways Agency only did study where lorries had freedom to access
other minor roads into Peak Park not study which expressly directed
them back to motorway network.)
Road user charges were put forward
by Derbyshire CC.
Despite all these alternatives which focussed
on the problems generated by the high volume of HGV movements
and the fact that high HGV component of through traffic was put
forward as justification for a bypass, none of alternatives has
been thoroughly investigated.
One of the reasons for road transport of freight
is it is relatively cheap in monetary terms. One of the results
of increasing road congestion should be to make DoT and Highways
Agency reassess transport provision