Letter: Environment - Damage to Gorge will be permanent

Nidd Gorge
Nidd Gorge

Sorry, but your headline article on ‘easing our congestion’ is misleading.

You say the report commissioned by the county council ‘has highlighted a relief road which would go through the Nidd Gorge as achieving the most benefits’.

The report says no such thing. In fact, ‘Package C’, which comprises the relief road alone, is judged the ‘poorest performing’ of the five ‘packages’ (i.e. options) considered (page 31).

Two options are recommended as having ‘the greatest level of benefits’.

One is ‘Package B - Demand Management and Behavioural Changes’ which avoids the need for a road at all. It includes a ‘range of physical and fiscal measures to discourage traffic from entering the town centre’ with ‘physical improvements to encourage use of public transport, cycling and walking...complemented by ‘soft’ measures to encourage sustainable travel behaviours and improvements to the urban realm’.

More than 20 imaginative measures are listed such as HGV bans at peak times, 20mph speed limits, area wide travel planning, incentives for more sustainable travel etc. Package B is the highest scoring of all the packages, ‘ranked first or second in all of the 19 metrics assessed’.

The other is ‘Package E - Relief Road plus Highway Operational Improvement Measures, Sustainable Transport and Urban Realm Improvement Interventions’. This includes a relief road together with some of the proposals in Package B. Package E is ranked first or second in 17 of the 19 metrics assessed.

To those who assume a relief road is the solution I’d say think again. It may look obvious but the transport experts don’t think so, and to the many who oppose a relief road it looks entirely obvious that that while congestion would ease for a time, it would inevitably worsen again in the medium and long term.

Meanwhile the damage to the beautiful Nidd Gorge and hugely popular Nidderdale Greenway would be considerable and permanent.

Malcolm Margolis

Nidd Gorge Community Action