National Highways have announced some changes to some areas of the routes, including some changes to the depth of the proposed road within the cuttings, as can be seen in Figure 4-39 from pages 98 and 99 in the consultation guide / page 93/197 pdf numbering).
To the northern end of the proposed route they advise they plan to raise the road in two locations, marked as numbers 20 and 22 on the map above – click image to take a closer look.
20 represents a section of the proposed route that was previously going to be up to 6.5m deep in a cutting for 2.2km. NH are now proposing to raise the road level within the cutting by 1m, so it would now be 5.5m in the cutting and it says that would be for 2.4km. You can click on the image below to take a closer look.
22 represents a section of the proposed route that was previously going to be up to 11.3m deep in a cutting for 1.5km. NH are now proposing to raise the road level within the cutting by 1.5m, so it would now be 9.8m in the cutting and it says that would be for 1.5km. You can click on the image below to take a closer look.
The reason they are doing this they say is to reduce the amount of excavated materials being removed, and thus also reducing carbon emissions. They also detail in number 21 in the same area of the proposed route that they plan to change the landscaping by increasing it by up to 6m in some parts, as detailed in the image below (click to take a closer look).
It appears to us that this is likely another attempt to dump the materials they excavate for the cutting. This again reduces the carbon emissions by reducing the miles the dug out materials travel. Reducing carbon emissions is of course a good thing.
However, it has always been a good thing to do, so why the sudden change to their plans? We know that carbon emissions and environmental impacts have been behind various legal challenges and delays, so we guess they want and need to make cuts to carbon emissions wherever possible for that reason rather than because they genuinely care, else they would have planned it to reduce the carbon emissions in the first place.
We also question what difference it would make with the road being raised. Well the whole theory of putting the road into cuttings like this is to reduce visual impacts, but also to reduce the impact of noise, air, and light pollution. So by raising the road it is also likely to make a difference to noise, air, and light pollution in those areas, as the road won’t be as deep into the cutting.
In some places they state raising it would make no difference, but when you consider on other pages they are stating they have considered 9m barriers to mitigate nitrogen deposition, on top of the fact that the reason for putting roads in cuttings is often to reduce air, noise, light pollution, you do have to question the real motives behind this and the impacts it would bring to our community, surrounding agricultural land where our food comes from, and the natural environment.
Plus of course if they truly cared about carbon emissions they wouldn’t be proposing the road at all! We consider this change to be more of an attempt to cut corners and costs, rather than carbon emissions, and that the real cost would be the impacts of the noise, air, and light pollution on those in the area.
LTC Carbon Emissions – click here
The Wilderness – click here
Agricultural land – click here
North Rd ‘green’ bridge – click here