Select Committee on Environmental Audit Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Save Swallow's Wood


  1.1  In the villages of Mottram, Hollingworth, and Tintwistle, plans for a bypass (the "A57/A628 Mottram-Tintwistle" bypass) have been on the table in various guises for the last 35 years. On 31 January draft Orders were published for a scheme that was put to public consultation in 1992 and we expect there will be a Public Inquiry. 1.4km of the proposed bypass is within the Peak District National Park boundary, whilst the remainder will devastate several working farms and permanently destroy the character of the valley, SSSI and LNR sites.

  1.2  Save Swallow's Wood is a local campaign group who opposes the A57/A628 Mottram-Tintwistle Bypass on environmental grounds.


  2.1  The Highways Agency's own published figures show that building the bypass will lead to a 124% increase in traffic using the A628 and a 7% increase in local CO2. In contrast, the traffic if nothing is done traffic growth is forecast to remain static, as the road network is already at capacity, which acts as a constraint on this route.

  2.2  By the Highways Agency's own admission,[79] the following Government policies relating to climate change will be adversely affected by this scheme:

    —  Energy White Paper—Our Energy Future Creating a Low Carbon Economy, DTI (2003)

    —  Climate Change—the UK Programme, DEFRA (2000)

  2.3  The Highways Agency claims that the scheme is beneficial in terms relating to the Transport White Paper—The Future of Transport: A Network for 2030 (2004), however it's justification for this is based on the scheme already being listed in the TPI and its purpose being to reduce congestions. What this assessment does not consider is the impact on climate change within the White Paper, on which it clearly has an adverse impact.


  3.1  Unlike many other road proposals, the Mottram-Tintwistle scheme is fairly unique in that alternative solutions could be implemented if there were the political will to tackle them.

  3.2  For example, the A628 runs parallel to the now disused Woodhead tunnel and railway line. Until 1982 this was a fully operational line, bringing passenger and freight across the Peak Park to Manchester from Sheffield and Penistone.

  3.3  In the last 10 years there have been three rail and two road management proposals put to decision makers at all levels, and all have been rejected in favour of the road-building option. These alternatives are:

    —  Arriva's proposal to re-open Woodhead tunnel and offer passenger rail services between Manchester and Sheffield.

    —  Central Railways' proposal, to reopen Woodhead tunnel and as part of a high-speed North-South network, enabling Transpennine rail-freight and passenger services.

    —  Translink's proposal to reopen Woodhead tunnel as a rail-freight link, offering rolling stock carriage from the M1 to the M60.

    —  Weight restrictions on the A628, put forward by CPRE and investigated by independent consultations Metropolitan Transport Research Unit (MTRU).

    —  Road user charging proposals, put forward by Derbyshire CC to the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF).

  3.4  Despite all these potential alternatives focussing on the problem of HGV movements, and HGV movements being identified as the major justification for the building of the road proposal, none of these proposals has been thoroughly investigated, nor measured against current Government policy regarding sustainable transport and climate change. Furthermore, four of the five proposals would be privately funded and self-financing, whilst a study conducted by MTRU concluded that for the fifth (weight-restriction), "the benefits would outweigh the costs", even without taking into consideration the character and environmentally sensitivity of the area.

February 2006

79   Refer to Environmental Statement A57/A628 Mottram-Tintwistle Bypass and A628/A616 Route Restraint Measures, 1.7 Other Government Policies, published by the Highways Agency. Back

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