Over a 100 Flintshire residents and businesses sign open letter of support for Welsh Government freeze on Red Route road scheme
More than 100 Flintshire residents, businesses and local politicians have joined forces to sign an open letter of support for the Welsh Government’s decision put the ‘Red Route’ – a new road from the Flintshire Bridge to the A55 – on hold for a review.
In June, Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters a freeze on new road building projects, whilst a review of highway schemes across Wales was carried out.
Ministers want to study the impact that road traffic has on climate change and all proposed schemes will be reviewed by an expert panel.
The move will impact the so called Deeside Red Route scheme, a new 12km two-lane dual carriageway linking the A55 at Northop with the A494 and A550 north of Deeside Parkway Junction via the Flintshire Bridge.
The red route would see traffic diverted from Aston Hill, where air pollution is high because of the number of lorries and cars.
An expert panel consisting of climate change and transport specialists from across the UK and led by Dr Lynn Sloman MBE, a transport consultant based in Wales will now carry out a review and a final report will be published next summer.
The letter of support was sent earlier this week to Lee Waters MS and was organised by community group STAMP.
Signatories include Llyr Gruffydd MS (Plaid Cymru) and local businesses, farmers and residents, who fear their lives, homes and livelihoods would be devastated by the building of the road.
The Letter in Full:
We are writing to you to express our appreciation and offer our support for your recent decision to pause and review proposed road schemes in Wales.
We know that some will not be in favour of this, but we very much welcome you taking this rational and responsible action.
As local communities and businesses, we can tell you that your announcement was received with widespread relief and gratitude in the local area.
For over four years now, we have had the shadow of this appalling scheme hanging over our homes, businesses and family farms.
Quite apart from the destruction of wildlife and the contribution of such a road to climate change, the negative impact that the Red Route would have on our communities is incalculable.
We do not believe that the Red Route would solve congestion or shorten commuting times in the area and there is even evidence that it would make them worse due to tailbacks caused by traffic joining the A55 at Northop and due to induced local traffic.
In addition to this, the increased levels of home working initiated by the pandemic coupled with Welsh Government aspirations for the future mean that road traffic in this area is highly likely to decrease in the future.
We are also aware that the projected costs of the Red Route continue to increase, which raises further questions over the value for money the road scheme would provide.
We remain convinced that the Red Route is simply not needed and alternative methods to manage road traffic in the area should be progressed.
The Welsh Government has said that money saved by not building new roads will be used to improve existing infrastructure, helping to create new bus and cycle lanes that give people a meaningful alternative choice for travel.
But Mark Tami, MP for Alyn and Deeside slammed the decision to freeze the Red Route scheme, earlier this year he said: “The red route is clearly the only option which is going to reduce air pollution in Aston, Higher Shotton, Queensferry and Sealand.”
“This has to be the Welsh Government’s number one priority here.”
“The impact of these fumes being spewed out next to homes, shops and schools is awful. Children’s health must come first.”
“What the Welsh Government are promising is a long term solution, but the children along the Aston Hill can’t wait for the long term when they’re breathing dangerously polluted air now.”
“Building the red route doesn’t mean junking carbon cut targets at all, but it does mean taking action now to protect children’s health and I have yet to hear anyone argue convincingly that there is something more important than that.”
“The message from me is clear – I back the red route and the Welsh Government needs to turn around and make it happen, fast.”
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