Letter: Benefits outweigh bypass damage

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The Independent Online
Sir: Over the past 20 years nearly all the towns and many of the villages on the A30 and A38 in Devon and Cornwall have been bypassed. The results refute most of the arguments of the Newbury protesters. The environmental impact has been acceptable even where it occurs in National Trust or National Park land. Nor have the bypasses become overloaded. Even the Plympton bypass out of Plymouth, now 20 years old, is still quite adequate despite being reduced from six to four lanes because of concrete cancer on a major bridge.

There has been virtually no satellite or ribbon development on the bypasses. Both counties have a virtual embargo on such development and the ministry has backed them up. Many of the towns freed from continuous heavy through traffic have greatly benefited. Ivybridge has been one of the fastest- developing towns in the country, not only as a commuter suburb of Plymouth but with much industrial development of its own. So much so that last year BR reopened the station there that had been closed for many years.

The benefit in cutting pollution has been equally dramatic. I can now drive from near Truro to Perth, Swansea, Dover or Newcastle in economy fifth gear all the way, instead of grinding through towns having to use first and second gear. Even with the lower car population of 20 years ago I once took 12 hours from London to here, which now takes less than five.

W K Stead