Road building policies must be reviewed, environmental campaigner tells A47 inquiry
An environmental campaigner has warned that planning policies on road building projects are out of step with the threat posed by climate change.
The claim has been made during a public inquiry into proposals to dual part of a key road link to and from West Norfolk.
Six sections of the A47, between Peterborough and Yarmouth, were earmarked for upgrading in a £300 million scheme first announced seven years ago.
One of them is the section between Blofield and North Burlingham, which is being examined by a government planning inspector.
But, addressing the hearing yesterday, climate activist and former Green Party councillor Dr Andrew Boswell raised concerns about the A47 and other road construction projects in Norfolk and their impact on climate change.
He argued that the national planning policy framework – used to ensure development is sustainable – is out of date following the IPCC report on climate change.
“It needs to be reviewed,” Dr Boswell said.
“I understand it will be reviewed by 2033 but the Transport Action Network will be trying to force an earlier review in the courts.”
He also argued the combined effects of carbon emissions should be measured across multiple simultaneous road-building projects in Norfolk, including other sections of the A47 and the Norwich Western Link, to properly understand the impact.
The planning inspector, Alex Hutson, asked Dr Boswell to put his concerns in writing for Highways England to provide proper responses to.
Dr Boswell, and other climate activists, recently met to discuss how they could take court action against road-building projects, including the A47, as a way of tackling global warming.
The meeting also addressed air quality concerns in the project, with a nearby property owner, Tim Knight, questioning if dust from the work would impact his property.
“We will be predominately downwind from the bridge development.
“I was concerned what plan of recourse we would have in the event it becomes difficult to live here if we live in a dust cloud.”
Philip Robson, from Highways England, said mitigation measures will be in place, but if they failed Mr Knight could raise complaints with either the local authority or the contractor.