Wye Ruin It?

Wye Ruin It?

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Update on the bypass project

Dear Wye Ruin It Supporters 

Here is an update on the bypass project.

There is a Hereford Transport Package consultation running from January 29th to 11th March. This is advertised as being about walking, cycling, buses and public space. 

Visit the council website for details.

It is worth visiting the exhibition at the Left Bank 29-31st January 11am-8pm, to express your opinions on the proposals. The package of active travel measures is somewhat confusing and fails to include sustainable measures to reduce pollution and congestion in Hereford. 

The main elements lacking are summarised in our latest leaflet.

We think it is a good opportunity to 

Use the Council Consultation to demand a better future for everyone including:

Economic and simple solutions

Separate safe cycle networks (not just painted lines with hazardous junctions)

Frequent affordable bus links with better commuter rail services

Free hybrid buses for kids and OAPs 

Improved frequency and coverage of smaller buses, sized to suit demand

Strategic investments

Re-open rural railway stations for passenger transport

Major investment for electric bus charging and a city transport hub

Re-use canal towpaths for cyclists

Light (trackless) trams to new estates and business parks

Separate routes, for electric cycles, electric scooters and robot deliveries

INSTEAD OF NEW or BIGGER ROADS!

The distinguished Professor John Whitelegg visited the exhibition today and his direct response is well worth reading. It is a damming critique of the consultation pointing out the glaring omissions of any attempt to improve congestion without a bypass. See below:

What to expect in the near future:

In the next few months technical surveys will be completed and assuming they are judged favourable then the red route could be confirmed by the Council. Once this happens there will need to be a further, statutory public consultation in late summer 2019 and the results assessed. After that Herefordshire Council will have to apply for planning permission. Then there will almost certainly be a public inquiry. There has never actually been an inquiry into these particular bypass proposals. 

The ‘first stage of the bypass’ is planned to run between the A49 Ross road and the Abergavenny Road at Belmont Abbey. The public inquiry only examined the compulsory purchase of the land the road requires. The Inspector’s report on this is anticipated by Easter. 

A similar compulsory purchase order public inquiry could also be necessary in future if all of the stages for the proposed Western bypass are eventually completed and local landowners cannot agree terms with Herefordshire Council for their land.

We recommend you visit the consultation and fill out your responses either on-line or on-site.

Please see Proff Whitelegg’s response to the Hereford Transport Package below:

Walking, cycling, bus and public space improvements

Dear Sir/Madam,

Hereford Transport Package

Walking, cycling, bus and public space improvements

Public consultation, Summary Brochure

I attended the consultation this morning (29.1.19) and spoke to members of WSP staff.  In my view the consultation is seriously flawed in 2 respects

Strand 1

The consultation is based on the assertion that improving walking, cycling, bus use and public space is clearly linked to the bypass proposal and there is no recognition at all that all these things can be improved without a bypass.  The linkage of bypass and much needed and desirable improvement in walking, cycling, bus use and public space is mischievous and misrepresents the rather obvious factual situation that we can have improvement without the bypass.  This is contrary to case law and practice on consultation which are summarized in the Gunning principles

https://adminlaw.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/18-January-2012-Sheldon.pdf

The consultation fails the legal test of a consultation that is based on fairness, factual accuracy and lack of bias.  It is biased in a way that materially boosts the case for the bypass

Strand 2

There is no disagreement in the UK that there are sound reasons for promoting and boosting walking and cycling which logically suggest that we have to make those modes of transport much more attractive than is now the case.  There are 2 established evidence-based ways that we can exploit to  increase walking and cycling and shift car trips to bike, walk and bus for those distance and journey purposes that can be accomplished by the non-motorised modes.  They are (1) general, area-wide, default, 20mph speed limits on all residential roads.  This policy is currently in place in 50 council areas covering 15 million residents and is well documented for its impacts on increasing walk and cycle trips.  It is not mentioned at all in the consultation information and this omission is unacceptable and suggests pre-determination of outcomes so that consultees are not alerted to the enormous potential of 20mph and this means that the policy will not figure in reports to the Council about the results of the consultation.  This is unlawful.   (2) there is no mention of evidence-based demand management e.g. workplace travel plans and school travel plans.  These TPs have the potential to remove up to 20% of vehicles from the highway system which in turn makes walking and cycling much more pleasant and attractive.  The omission of “smarter choices” raises the possibility that the council does not wish to reduce traffic levels in Hereford and prefers to bolster the case for a new road with forecasts of increases in traffic.  This is bias which is unacceptable in a consultation.    A consultation exercise should not air-brush out of the picture measures and interventions that will reduce traffic and solve congestion problems in Hereford.  There is no reason at all why Hereford should not consider congestion charging and no reason at all that work place car parking levies should not be part of the mix (the Nottingham approach).  These omissions point inexorably to the interpretation that the council has decided to build a new road and decided to delete reference to any policy or measure that would reduce traffic and weaken the case for the new road

Professor John Whitelegg BA PhD LLB

 

Patricia Ronan