From Wye Ruin It?
On Tuesday February 2nd our County Council voted by a clear majority to abandon plans to build the Western Bypass and the Southern Link Road. This follows 12 years in which the local Conservative party had many chances to tackle congestion. Sadly, they reduced funding for buses, and failed to put in safe walking and cycling alternatives. This worsened congestion and cost £12million, including money that should have been spent on potholes and flood defences. They told us that the ‘bypass’ would reduce congestion, despite the planners saying it would increase it!
In light of the Climate Emergency, our new coalition had to spend a further £480,000 to review these road plans. Two sets of internationally accredited reviewers confirmed that these roads would not reduce congestion. They outlined new faster, cheaper, cleaner options to reduce congestion and pollution in our city, including frequent electric hopper busses that are free or cheap to use, a safe cycle network and increased pedestrian, widening and improving existing roads, and possibly adding an Eastern road to service the Rotherwas industrial area are also included.
The Climate and Ecological Emergency is now a National and International priority. Sustainable Transport is key to tackling this: Properly constructed and funded, it will protect our environment, increase local business, tourism and improve health.
Next steps: The Hereford City Council was awarded some money required for new electric buses by the Stronger Towns Fund. (Note from the Editor: some funding for electric buses was included in the ST funding bid but the results are still awaited) Herefordshire will need around £30million for a proper modern bus service and £57 million for a safe cycling network. We are one of the driest counties in the UK, ideal for cycling, and have the potential to lead the way on sustainable transport. This would greatly increase local business and tourism, as well as addressing our health and climate emergencies.
We ask you now, to write to your local MP, Rt Hon Bill Wiggin (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rt Hon Jesse Norman (email: email@example.com) and to the Minister of Transport, Rt Hon Grant Shapps (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) to ask for them to fund these new sustainable types of transport schemes for future generations.
Many thanks to all who supported our efforts to refocus development on sustainable transport.
Wye Ruin It? 16/02/2021