A417 Missing Link

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

A417 Missing Link

Received 31 August 2021
From Thomas Wheeler

Representation

There is a clear conflict between the Government’s policies on transport and climate change. On transport, they are promoting schemes such as this one which would destroy valuable wildlife habitat and carbon ‘sinks’ in the form of hedgerows and woodland. These schemes would also encourage the use of private cars by making car journeys easier and quicker, thereby increasing greenhouse gas emissions. The construction of new roads also involves massive greenhouse gas emissions for example from the machinery used to build the road and in the manufacture of the concrete/tarmac used for the road surface. On climate change, the Government has committed to reducing emissions by 78% by 2035 and to net-zero by 2050. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has indicated that, as part of the necessary move to a low-carbon society, “we will use our cars less”. It is often argued that major roads need additional lanes to accommodate increasing traffic – however, as Grant Shapps indicated, decarbonisation requires a reduction in traffic. This removes any argument that additional capacity is needed; at best building this new road would be a waste of money and of our limited carbon budget. At worst it would induce additional traffic, meaning that the Government fails in its ambitions to reduce car use and greenhouse gas emissions, and I consider this to be the more-likely outcome of proceeding with this scheme. The Climate Change Committee has advised that the Government’s current policies are not sufficient to meet these targets. The Government will therefore have to “introduce more challenging measures” to avoid missing these objectives. It is my view that cancelling road expansion projects such as this will be required to achieve the necessary reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. I therefore object to this scheme in its entirety on the grounds that it would increase greenhouse gas emissions, both in the short and long term, is not consistent with the Government’s decarbonisation policies and will damage wildlife habitats. Since the Government’s decarbonisation commitments are enshrined in law, proceeding with this scheme is potentially unlawful and the project should therefore be terminated at the earliest possible opportunity.