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A57 Link Roads Examination

Tomo Thompson
By Tomo Thompson
6th September 2022


The A57 Link Roads Examination closed after 6 months of intensive interrogation of the scheme on 17th May and now awaits the Secretary of State’s decision, which must be made by 16th November 2022. It is a ridiculous scheme, which would help only a small part of Mottram beside the trunk road and leave a much wider area with more congestion, carbon emissions, pollution and road crashes. Hollingworth and Tintwistle would continue to endure all the heavy traffic and pollution.   

 Consultation on the scheme in 2020 barely touched on all these adverse impacts and gave local people and local authorities few insights. Only through the planning examination were some of the full impacts brought to light – carbon emissions of 400,000tCO2 over 60 years; harm to the Peak District National Park and the openness of the Green Belt; increased risk of road crashes; increases in traffic and its adverse consequences in Glossopdale.  

 Keith Buchan from MTRU, our consultant, also showed the devastating impacts the scheme would have on Greater Manchester’s transport plans to fight the climate emergency and the failure of National Highways to plan properly. By salami slicing the proposed A628 corridor upgrade between the M67 and the M1, consideration of all the strategic impacts has been avoided, not only those on Greater Manchester but also on the National Park.  

 However much of the evidence is in need of further scrutiny and assessment without which the Secretary of State will find it difficult to balance the pros and cons. Consequently we believe that a decision to proceed with the scheme would be untenable, but it is likely that politics will interfere. There were 700 supporters (the majority wrote one liners) and 150 objectors. MP Robert Largan has 4,000 signatures on a petition for ‘no more housing development until the bypass is built’ – not quite the same thing as support for the bypass. 

 Nevertheless we are campaigning to influence the decision. In a report submitted to the Office of Rail and Road we have highlighted the ways in which in developing the scheme we have shown National Highways breached its licence conditions ( CPRE PDSY report on National Highways Non Compliance with Licence ). National Highways’ licence is a legal contract between it and the Secretary of State for Transport, and sets many conditions the company must meet. Compliance is monitored by the Office of Rail and Road. We believe that not only did its evasive, obstructive and defensive behaviour fall well below the licence conditions, it also failed to meet sustainability criteria and improve road safety. As the expectation is that National Highways will go above and beyond such requirements we are urging the Office of Rail and Road to hold the company to account and take action to ensure compliance.