Sunday, 17 January 2010

GREEN PARTY OPPOSES DUALLING OF A21

Kent Green Party is opposed to the dualling of the A21. Dr Hazel Dawe, Chair of Kent Green Party, explains:

“Kent Green Party objects in principle to road capacity increases, new trunk road building or road widening. Investment is needed in walking, cycling and public transport to compensate for long-term under-investment, high ticket prices in public transport and to encourage healthier lifestyles. We note the UK has the most expensive rail fares in the world and a major obesity problem. We also believe that the Public Sector Deficit must be addressed over time. A long-term freeze on trunk road building would be a contribution to the latter. We note that the recent bad weather has also created a legacy of potholes in roads and damage to pavements UK-wide which must be dealt with as a priority.

“The A21 dualling scheme would require additional land including good quality arable farmland and ancient woodlands. There are no circumstances under which we would support the allocation of these two types of land to new trunk road building or widening anywhere in Kent. We support the retention of agricultural land for use for food production and the absolute protection of ancient woodland which cannot be replaced by compensatory woodland extension elsewhere.

“We question the record of the Highways Agency in estimating traffic levels. We note a long-term tendency of this Agency to under-estimate traffic levels(1).

“Commuters from the rural area near Pembury currently use Paddock Wood rail station in large numbers because of the situation on the A21. Dualling the A21 is likely to lead to an increase in commuters form this area using Tonbridge station instead. This would lead to greater increases in traffic than forecast and would lead to greater congestion and increased air pollution in the already overloaded area near Tonbridge station.” Ends

FURTHER INFORMATION: Dr Hazel Dawe on 01732 355185 or mobile 079444 71083. Contact address as above. The full submission to the Highways Agency will be available at www.kentgreenparty.org under Publications, shortly.

Notes: 1. See for example: http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/system/files/CBT-response-A14-draft-orders-Jan10.pdf & CPRE and Countryside Agency – Beyond Transport Infrastructure: lessons for the future from recent road projects – 2006 – see especially p.7.

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