11th July 2019

We have today submitted our full written response to the A66 Northern Trans Pennine Upgrade Consultation. We have summarised some of our key points below. Our full written response to the consultation can be viewed by clicking on the image below. 

Friends of the Lake District (FLD) is concerned that upgrading the A66 to a dual carriageway for its entire length from Penrith to Scotch Corner will make it more difficult to secure a sustainable future for Cumbria’s landscapes.

In addition to potential landscape damage, research shows that the scheme will almost certainly cause ‘induced traffic’ (additional traffic generated by the road scheme itself)1 and increase traffic speeds.

Friends of the Lake District recognises there are black spots where collisions occur on the A66 but we believe these can be addressed by local safety measures and junction realignment and reconfiguration rather than by dualling the whole length of the road. We are concerned that this possibility has not been considered, as it is not on the list of options looked at and discounted.

The consultation document is very brief for a project of this size. It makes many assertions not supported by accompanying evidence. We therefore have a number of queries concerning some of the claims made in the document. These include:

  • A statement of case for why this road upgrade is actually needed.
  • Whether a cost-benefit analysis has been carried out looking at junction upgrades for safety reasons, but no dualling.
  • A list of benefits and whether they will outweigh the environmental costs (including increased greenhouse gas emissions)
  • How certain are Highways England that the proposed road scheme will not produce induced traffic; and
  • How the scheme fits with a net zero carbon UK by 2050.

As Friends of the Lake District is CPRE’s representative in Cumbria, our area of interest stretches to the boundary of the County, and we will not comment on the proposed upgrade outside of Cumbria.


30th April 2019

Highways England is carrying out a public consultation about making the A66 between Penrith and Scotch Corner a dual carriageway.  The consultation closes on 11th July.  These proposals involve widening some sections of the A66 which are currently single carriageway, and in other places such as Kirkby Thore, completely rerouting the road.

The consultation can be found online at https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/cip/a66-northern-trans-pennine/

If you'd like to respond to the consultation, and would like a guide as to what to say, these are the key points we will be making:

  • Friends of the Lake District does not consider that upgrading the A66 to a dual carriageway for its entire length from Penrith to Scotch Corner is in line with the actions needed to secure a sustainable future for Cumbria’s landscapes. 
  • There would be significant damaging impacts to the landscape and environment of Cumbria and the North Pennines.  This damage includes harm to protected landscapes; loss of habitats, flora and fauna; increases in noise, light and air pollution and issues with flooding and run-off. 
  • In addition, more traffic using the road and increased traffic speeds will increase the emissions of greenhouse gases from traffic, contributing to the climate emergency which the UK Government has pledged to address by reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.
  • Studies carried out over many years have demonstrated that building new roads, widening roads or upgrading roads to dual carriageway induces additional road use by bringing more vehicles onto the road that wouldn’t have otherwise used it.  Any respite from congestion provided by a new or widened road is temporary, before the cycle starts again.  Provision of more road capacity does not deliver a stable situation: the more capacity is increased, the more capacity increases are ‘needed’. (https://www.cpre.org.uk/resources/transport/roads/item/4543-the-end-of-the-road-challenging-the-road-building-consensus)

 

  • We consider that safety on the A66 could be significantly improved without making it dual carriageway by, for example, imposing lower speed limits on the most dangerous stretches of the road, including using average speed cameras to enforce the limits.  Along with speed reduction, safety could be improved by the addition of features such as underpasses or bridges to replace farm crossings so that farm traffic no longer has to cross the road (in particular the provision of a bridge across the road at Kirkby Thore to enable HGV traffic from the British Gypsum Works to travel west on the A66).  Acceleration and deceleration lanes, coupled with underpasses or bridges to remove the need for vehicles to turn right across the carriageway would also significantly reduce risk of accidents at those junctions most at risk. 
  • The stretch of road put forward for dualling from Appleby to Brough runs along the southern boundary of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The Government's National Networks National Policy Statement says this about road building in protected landscapes:

‘There is a strong presumption against any significant road widening or the building of new roads and strategic rail freight interchanges in a National Park, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, unless it can be shown there are compelling reasons for the new or enhanced capacity and with any benefits outweighing the costs very significantly. Planning of the Strategic Road Network should encourage routes that avoid National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.’ 

  • Friends of the Lake District considers that the far-reaching harmful impacts of new road building provide clear grounds to reject these road plans as they stand.  In our view, significant safety improvements on the A66 could be implemented through changes and reconfigurations at junctions and road crossings. Whilst any congestion benefit from the upgrade of the A66 will be temporary due to induced traffic, the adverse environmental impacts of the road on protected landscapes and on greenhouse gas emissions will be lasting and will significantly outweigh any benefits.