PGS: Strategic roads
Strategic roads are routes chiefly serving long distance, through traffic. Such roads which pass either through or adjacent to the Chilterns are of direct interest to the Chiltern Society because of their environmental impact and their effect on traffic flows on local roads.
Strategic roads comprise motorways and trunk roads which are the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Transport through the Highways Agency. Some A-roads which are the responsibility of County Councils are of interest to the Society for similar reasons.
The Government’s objectives for transport are stated to be:
- to promote a strong economy and increase prosperity;
- to provide better protection for the environment; and
- to develop a more inclusive society.
Its five main criteria for pursuit of these objectives are:
- environmental impact – to protect the built and natural environment;
- safety – to improve safety;
- economy – to support sustainable economic activity and get good value for money;
- accessibility – to improve access to facilities for those without a car and to reduce severance*;
- integration – to ensure that all decisions are taken in the context of the Government’s integrated transport policy.
* Severance arises when new or modified roads cause local people to have to make lengthy or uncongenial journeys to visit people or places that previously seemed close by.
The Society does not disagree with these objectives and criteria, but may wish to modify their application in order to safeguard elements of the life and environment of the countryside and towns in the Chilterns.
Amelioration of proposals
The Society monitors and, where appropriate, seeks to ameliorate the effects of road schemes proposed by the Highways Agency on behalf of the Department for Transport or by County Councils.
In the case of new road construction, emphasis should be placed on utilising the natural transport corridors of the arterial valleys through the Chilterns. New link roads to strategic routes should be scrutinised for their net effect on traffic conditions on local roads, the rights of way network and on the environment. Vigilance will also be exercised over any development to the immediate surround of the Chilterns which might induce increased flows of traffic through the area.
Examples of possible amelioration are landscaping, additional tree and shrub planting, new or higher noise-reducing structures, modifications to reduce light pollution, and use of quieter surfaces in place of conventional asphalt or concrete. All these measures reduce the visual impact of roads and the levels of noise emanating from them.
Any proposals that do not have a nil or a beneficial noise / visual / landscape etc impact on the Chilterns should be opposed.
Reduction of road traffic
The Society intends to exercise pressure on the Department for Transport and on County Councils to adopt measures designed to reduce or moderate the impact of the amount of motor traffic, or at least moderate the growth in traffic – these include:
Approved Convenor’s meeting Nov 08