Shrewsbury & Atcham Green Party is renewing its calls for the planned North West Road in Shrewsbury to be cancelled, calling the project ‘incompatible’ with the UK’s ambitious new climate targets announced by the Prime Minister on Wednesday.
Shrewsbury councillor Julian Dean, who is seeking re-election in Porthill, says: ‘The Green Party has been calling for the UK to tackle its emissions for years, so we welcome the fact that the Prime Minister is finally realising the severity of the climate emergency. These new targets require new thinking, especially for transport.
‘The 30-year-old plan for the North West Road will generate 70,000 tonnes of CO2 and destroy natural habitats and carbon sinks. Building it after the Prime Minister's announcement is like trying to put out a fire with petrol. Shropshire Council must accept that the world has changed since the project was first mooted.’
Locally, the North West Road plans have proved hugely controversial. Over two thousand objections have been submitted to Shropshire Council’s planning portal and there has been a series of protests by campaigners over the impact of the road on wildlife habitats and trees including the famous 550-year-old 'Darwin Oak'.
Says Councillor Dean: ‘We are delighted to see the extent of opposition to the road. It took them a while, but all Shropshire’s opposition parties have now joined The Green Party in calling for it to be scrapped. Only the Conservatives still support it and they’re currently tying themselves in knots trying to justify it while claiming to be “green”.
‘Our members have campaigned against this road for decades and they have been instrumental in reviewing the evidence for and against it and promoting alternatives after Shropshire Council axed its sustainable transport team. Looking at our neighbours in Hereford, where Greens were key in scrapping the town’s disastrous bypass, it’s clear that the best way to stop this road is to vote Green. Where Greens lead, others follow.’
Concerns are also being raised about the final price tag of the road after comparisons with a series of other local infrastructure projects around the UK.
Says Councillor Dean: ‘The North West Road exposes Shropshire taxpayers to huge financial risk, since the county is responsible for all of the overspend on the project. Given that 25% of Shropshire residents don’t own a car, people are being ill-served by expensive, car-centric transport policies. Investing in public transport, cycling, and active traffic initiatives will create healthier and happier towns for all Shropshire residents to enjoy.
'It beggars belief that Shropshire Tories could push ahead with road building at the same time as endorsing plans to get rid of Shrewsbury’s bus station. The world has changed since the North West Road was first planned. We ask Shropshire Conservatives to listen to the Prime Minister and join us in calling for the road to be scrapped.’