Government funding for smart transport technology
After an excellent public launch of the Wye Ruin It? campaign and the recent announcement of the tunnel to be built under Stonehenge, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the government is hell bent on building roads, and that the council has no options but to plan for roads.
You couldn't be more wrong. Chris Grayling has recently been in the press launching trials of driverless minibuses in London and has hailed them as the future of transport. Meanwhile, his department are continually posting calls for development in new technologies that will support ecological transport for business, such as smart rail freight.
So, why is Herefordshire Council hell bent on building a road that will only increase city congestion? Good question. We don't have any answers, but those who have been investigating the proposed housing in the Three Elms area have some theories. Local councillors tell us that Hereford needs around 1000 affordable houses to meet the needs of those on the waiting lists, as opposed to the 6,500 planned (35% affordable). This is way above the number required by the government. They also tell us that the improvements in broadband and data connections is increasing rural working and industry.
Herefordshire Council have to find some cost-effective justification for this road, and for the Southern Link Road. Make no mistake, the success of the Southern Link Road is wholly dependent on funding of the Western Bypass. Reductions in bus services and subsequent increases in private vehicles for short within city journeys have severely weakened any argument for the Bypass. It is clear that the council should be focusing on smart mass public transport solutions to reduce congestion, which will only get worse once the new housing is in place.
You've got to ask, who exactly is this Bypass for? Not the people of Hereford. That's for sure!