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Plans for the A417: Sarah Lunnon’s Response

Gloucestershire County Council has been lobbying for a number of years for the Highway Agency to dual the single carriageway sections of the A417 between Cowley roundabout and Brockworth. The dual of this road will in effect create a motorway across the Cotswold; and, as has happened in countless other examples, see vehicle numbers rise, noise pollution increase and congestion pushed onto local roads, because all that fast moving traffic ends up on a local road somewhere. What exactly will be the impact on the Slad Rd between Birdlip and Stroud?

Below is my response, as the Green Parliamentary Candidate for Stroud, to Gloucestershire County Council’s chief Executive Pete Bungard who has written to all Parliamentary Candidates in the County ‘inviting them to express their support’ – I have declined this invitation as you can see below.

“Dear Mr Bungard

The Government’s response to the County Council’s representations for a solution to the delays and accident levels on the A417 in Gloucestershire is welcomed, by myself and my local Green Party. That response makes clear that ALL options will be considered, not just the dual carriageway proposed by the County Council.

We share with others the belief that the decision-making and implementation of the County Council backed solution could take at best 10 years to deliver. The problems need alleviating much sooner than that.

We also note that the factors which have previously caused the dual carriageway solution to be rejected still apply, casting serious doubt upon its viability.

It is our view that, as a nation and a county, we are failing to address the root cause of traffic flow problems, i.e. ever-increasing traffic volumes; particularly of bigger and heavier vehicles. Planning to cope with infinite traffic growth, rather than trying to reduce or stabilise it, is contrary to our aims of reducing harmful vehicle emissions and protecting our countryside.

In many place where dual carriageways have been built to relieve traffic problems, the bottleneck has simply been shifted elsewhere. On many major routes where dual carriageways are joined by minor roads, speed restrictions have had to be introduced because of the dangers from the high volume/high speed through traffic. These dangers would exist on the A417, and speed restrictions would likely be needed, unless motorway-level junctions were provided, with the attendant additional expense and visual impact.

I note that the Conservative-run County Council’s web-based campaign to gather public support for their scheme:
a) offered no option to oppose it, and
b) raised less support than the Glosvain petition to oppose the incinerator you still intend to have built.

If you intend publishing my response in any media then please do so in its entirety.

Yours Sarah Lunnon
Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Stroud”