Anti-roads lobby hails rejection of new routes


Green campaigners hailed a change in the Government's transport policy yesterday as it rejected a series of controversial road-building schemes on environmental grounds.

Green campaigners hailed a change in the Government's transport policy yesterday as it rejected a series of controversial road-building schemes on environmental grounds.

The Department of Transport announced it was giving the go-ahead to just 15 of the 44 major road projects submitted by English councils.

It blocked two new proposed routes through the Wiltshire countryside, one near Salisbury and the other around Westbury. Critics claimed they were an attempt to develop a main highway linking the M4 to Southampton. Plans were also rejected for a short-cut in Somerset between the M4 and M5, new routes through East Durham and around Middlesbrough, a ring-road at Stourbridge, West Midlands, and a bypass at Grantham, Lincolnshire.

Transport groups said the package showed a shift against road-building in government.

Stephen Joseph, director of Transport 2000, said a lower proportion of road schemes had been approved this year. "The Government has listened to our concerns," he said.

Tony Bosworth, transport campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: "We're delighted the Government has rejected the schemes in Wiltshire. They seem to be looking more rigorously at proposals."

David Young, a transport campaigner for the Council for the Protection of Rural England, said: "We are pleased they have rejected or deferred half of them, but several damaging schemes are set to go ahead."

Plans for a £17.1m bypass in Barnsley, a £15.2m A228 relief road in Kent and £37m of improvements to the M4 near Reading were approved.

They were among 23 large-scale transport projects and thousands of small schemes in a £1.5bn package announced yesterday by John Spellar, the minister for Transport.

In addition to £555m for road improvements and bridge strengthening, local authorities will receive £620m for smaller schemes for buses, public transport, cyclists and pedestrians.

Mr Spellar approved 110 schemes to speed the movement of buses, 1,700 local road safety schemes, up to 50 new or extended park-and-ride sites, some 600 extra miles of cycle routes, 100 miles of new footpaths and 2,400 new or improved road crossings.

Larger schemes include a £17.9m revamp of Barnsley bus station, a £20.9m plan to develop bus lanes into Leeds and an £8.9m park-and-ride facility to reduce congestion in Durham.

"The Government is listening to motorists and road users and is committed to getting our roads moving again," Mr Spellar said.

"It also reaffirms our commitment to improving public transport, improving our local environment and delivering a better quality of life for our local communities."

A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
Nemanja Matic holds the Capital One Cup with Branislav Ivanovic on Sunday
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th-century cartographer created the atlas
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established and expanding ...

Recruitment Genius: Water Jetting / HGV Driver - Industrial Services

£14000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Skilled Labouring staff with id...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Executive - OTE £30,000

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Salary: £16k - £20k Dependant o...

Recruitment Genius: Accountant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A specialist two partner firm o...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot