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A30 expressway drives a hole through Cornwall Council’s commitment to protect nature and climate

This new road is not a ‘dualling’, which is how it was originally sold to people in Cornwall. It will destroy a wide swathe of countryside, divide rural communities, and is completely incompatible with Cornwall Council’s declaration of Climate Emergency.” – Karen La Borde, Cornwall Green Party

Cornwall Green Party is calling for an urgent reassessment of the planned new expressway between Carland Cross and Chiverton.

The road project, which was originally conceived as a “dualling” of the existing A30, has over time morphed into a major new road scheme in addition to the existing stretch of A30. Construction work is scheduled to begin this month.

Cornwall Green Party says the project is in breach of the terms of the government’s own Road Investment Strategy (RIS), which states that roads should “not divide communities, and that the associated health and wellbeing benefits of walking and cycling are felt as widely as possible”.

Karen La Borde of Cornwall Green Party said: “We have repeatedly been told by Boris Johnson’s government that this pandemic should prompt us to think about how we can ‘build back better’. We agree, and here in Cornwall this should be the cue to reassess schemes that are damaging to the natural environment and to carbon reduction targets, as well as to local communities. This new expressway is a glaring example.

“Highways England itself estimates that construction of this road will involve a massive 79,920 tonnes in carbon emissions. It claims that this will be offset by a saving in emissions from reduced congestion, but this flies in the face of experience, which is that new roads almost invariably lead over time to increased traffic volumes.

“The expressway is clearly not compatible with Cornwall Council’s goal to achieve net zero carbon by 2030. And that aspiration will never be met if we keep making the wrong planning decisions that fail to take account of the urgent need to drastically cut rather than increase emissions.

“We understand that the planning of the new road has been taken largely out of the hands of Cornwall Council by Highways England. But that in itself is a sign of central government dictating the terms of so-called ‘development’ in a way that rides roughshod over the needs of local residents as well as the paramount importance of protecting the natural environment in the context of the accelerating climate emergency.

“We urge Cornwall Council to take this matter up with Highways England, pointing out that this scheme needs to be reassessed in the light of the Council’s commitment to reduce emissions and protect Cornwall’s natural environment.”

Residents in the area through which the proposed new road will run have described their horror at the way the road-building scheme has grown far beyond the way it was originally described to them.

Pete Mewton of Nancarrow Farm – which lies in the way of the new expressway – said: ”We know that the A30 needed to be improved along this stretch, but this expressway is an entirely new road, and nothing like the dualling that was envisaged. It would take a huge amount of farmland ,as well as wild and wooded areas – an estimated 70 hectares in total.

“The route is extremely insensitive to the human environment – it divides the whole area, cutting communication roads and encroaching close to homes and businesses. People living along its route have just one place they can get on or across it. Most of us would have to go to one or other end of it to go east or west and would never have need of it.“

Lucy Trinder of local environmental protection group ‘These Fields Have Names’, said: “This new road will obliterate 75 to 90 acres of old fields and farmland with tarmac, and its embankments and verges will take many more than that, causing irreparable damage to our natural environment. Homes, fields, hedges, trees, wooded areas, wildlife all destroyed – and for what? A reduction in long-distance journey times of about eight minutes. That’s how much the drive time from Highways England HQ in Guildford to Camborne will be reduced – from 4 hours 36 minutes to 4 hours 28 minutes.”