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High Court rejects bid to halt Mottram Bypass

MPs Robert Largan and Jonathan Reynolds have welcomed a decision by the High Court rejecting an appeal to block the Mottram Bypass from being built.

The Countryside Charity CPRE had lodged the legal challenge earlier this year after plans for the A57 Links Road project were approved last November by the Secretary of State for Transport.

National Highways had hoped to start work on the scheme in spring, but those works were delayed until the appeal could be heard. 

The High Court heard those legal arguments during a two day hearing last month, with the court’s decision rejecting the CPRE appeal released on Friday.

In a post on his Facebook page High Peak, Conservative MP Robert Largan said: “The High Court has just issued a ruling on the legal challenge to try and block the Mottram Bypass.

“I am delighted to report that the legal challenge has been rejected.

“I am just waiting for clarification from the Department for Transport and National Highways to check if there are any further outstanding legal judgements… However, this judgement is very good news.”

MP for Hyde and Stalybridge Jonathan Reynolds posted: “I have just found out the CPRE’s action to try to block the Mottram bypass has been rejected by the High Court.

“Myself and Jon Pearce for High Peak welcome this news and urge the government to get on with this much needed relief road which will improve local health outcomes and boost the local economy. 

“I know that local people have been waiting decades and will believe it when they see it, but this is yet another hurdle down towards diggers in the ground. 

“Let’s get this built and keep pushing for a longer term solution for Hollingworth and Tintwistle. When I receive formal notification from the Department for Transport I will share it with constituents.”

The CPRE call for a review on The Secretary of State’s decision was based on the way ‘cumulative carbon assessments’ were carried out, along with local carbon plans, and secondly on how the assessment of alternatives and their impact on the green belt had been considered.

In a statement at the time the CPRE said: “The proposed Link Roads would increase traffic through the Peak District National Park, harming public enjoyment of its landscapes and tranquillity.

“If the Link Roads go ahead, Glossop would see increased congestion, accidents and rat running on residential streets.

“It will do nothing to relieve the noise, pollution and intimidation which blights the lives of the people who live along the trunk road through Hollingworth and Tintwistle, where lorries thunder past their doorsteps, rattling their windows.

“The scheme would emit thousands of tons of carbon dioxide. Yet we are in a climate and nature emergency when emissions need to reduce urgently.”

The charity also argued that other measures, such as weight restrictions for heavy lorries, and improvements in walking, cycling and buses should be trialled before road capacity is increased.

Around 25,000 vehicles currently travel along the A57 through Mottram in Longdendale every day, including more than 2,000 heavy goods vehicles travelling between Manchester and Sheffield.

Under the plans a new dual carriageway would be created from the M67 junction 4 roundabout to a new junction on the A57(T) at Mottram Moor.

And a new single carriageway would also be constructed to connect to the A6018 Roe Cross Road and a new single carriageway linking the A57(T) at Mottram Moor to a new junction on the A57 at Woolley bridge.

The Transport Secretary had approved the recommendation by the Planning Inspectorate to give the National Highways project the green light after six months of scrutiny which ended in May last year.

The approval of the bypass plans, first officially mooted more than ten years ago but which has been in the pipeline for decades, was hailed by politicians in Tameside at the time as a ‘great result’.

In response the High Peak Green New Deal group said they were 'disappointed' and 'baffled' by the decision.

Peter Allen said: 'This decision is not only disappointing, it is quite baffling' said Peter Allen of High Peak Green New Deal 'The judgement concluded that the need for, and considerable public benefits of, the Scheme clearly outweighed the adverse effects of the Scheme, including its harm to the Green Belt. The public benefits weighing significantly in favour of granting consent were said to include the reduced congestion and improved journey time through Mottram, Hollingworth and Tintwistle  

It is very hard to see what these considerable public benefits are. There is no advantage whatsoever to Hollingworth and Tintwistle, whose residents would benefit far more from a ban on heavy vehicles. And whilst congestion may be reduced through Mottram, it will be increased through Glossop as more traffic is funnelled into the town.

And CPRE's point about the increased emissions not being fully assessed, has been deferred until a similar court case goes to Appeal.  It is clear that these roads will increase pollution and environmental harm and the funds would be much better spent on improving public transport.'

You can read the full judgement here: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Peak-District-and-South-Yorkshire-Branch-Of-The-Campaign-To-Protect-Rural-England-v-Secretary-of-State-for-Tra.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3OkjvWfuvrmCX6i1CRBVmf1U4YNi3US9X3APDla5P9w-oXRjHujWQJUJM

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