Azara Blog: Bypasses allegedly bad for rural areas

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Date published: 2006/07/04

The BBC says:

Three controversial bypasses failed to reduce traffic to the levels promised, a study by green groups has found.

Researchers looked at the A27 Polegate bypass in East Sussex, the A34 Newbury bypass, Berkshire, and the M65 Blackburn Southern bypass, Lancashire.

The Countryside Agency and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) found traffic on the bypasses was growing faster than forecast by the government.

Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman said other factors were to blame.

"Many of the effects that are reported in this study are not as the result of the road development itself, but are the result of other developments that have followed behind the road developments," Mr Ladyman said.

"So if we decide to build an industrial park for example near a new road then you can hardly be surprised if that industrial park generates new traffic."

Researchers also said the bypass schemes caused permanent damage to rural landscapes.

Their study, published on Monday, said traffic on the three bypasses had already reached or exceeded the levels forecast for the year 2010.

And extra traffic, over and above the gradual increase happening everywhere, had flowed on to local roads.

At Newbury and Polegate, the new bypasses did reduce town centre traffic.

But in Polegate, shop owners suffering from losses in trade had actually been campaigning for signs to be installed on the bypass directing traffic back into town.

In Newbury, most of the freed-up space on the old bypassed road was being taken up by traffic attracted by new development, the study said.

A completely disingenous report from these so-called environmental groups, whose main aim in life seems to be to freeze life in the countryside as it was in 1950, pity that it's 2006. Bypasses no more do "permanent damage" to the countryside than any other human intervention (including monocultural agriculture). But bypasses are a slightly tricky issue in that since they do reduce through traffic in towns, shop owners are almost bound to suffer, and that means the local residents in turn will suffer from reduced availability of local shops. It should be up to residents generally in a town whether they should have a bypass, it should not be up to a bunch of unaccountable middle class bureaucrats.

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