TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS FOR LANCASTER & MORECAMBE
 
PRESS RELEASE     4 October 2013
 
Link Road Challenge judgement disappoints
 
The judgement in the legal challenge to the Heysham M6 Link was published today. The judge Mr Justice Turner did not agree with the arguments put forward by campaign group TSLM (1)
 
TSLM Chair David Gate said: “We’re sorry that the Courts did not accept our legal case. The judge did accept that these were serious arguments, seriously presented, and he considered them seriously, Indeed, so serious were the arguments and the contradictions in the Council’s case, that it took the judge 10 weeks to reach a decision.
 
“The judge did agree with us on some points, e.g. that the consultations were defective.
 
“We have taken legal advice, and that is that there are errors in the judge’s decision, and there are good grounds for a successful appeal against it. So we shall ask the courts for permission to appeal.”
 
Mr Gate added: “This judgement was on the legal process, not the road itself. It is still crystal clear that this road is not value for money. It will not help congestion in Lancaster . It will not help regeneration in Morecambe. Sacrificing our Green Belt is too high a price to pay for such dubious benefits.
 
“And businesses don’t really think it will work. When asked, not a single business contributed a single penny towards it.
 
“It is an out-of-date scheme, and evidence continues to mount up against it. Now that scientists are saying that it is 95% certain that Global Warming is cased by humans, this is not the time to make that process worse by increasing harmful emissions and encouraging more car use.
 
“The cost is too high, and rising. The Council has already spent £13 million on design and preparation costs since 2005. Now it has written a blank cheque, to be drawn on Lancashire ’s taxpayers, for £12 million plus all overspend. It has recently increased that to £18 million, before a sod has been cut. We estimate that a further £9 million has been notched up already. The Council’s errors and bungling have led to delays and extra costs, to the tune of £5 million a year.
 
“The Council should cut their losses and withdraw the scheme now.”



TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS FOR LANCASTER & MORECAMBE
PRESS AND MEDIA RELEASE 30TH APRIL 2013
 
Campaign Group challenges Link Road decision
 
On Monday 29 April, local campaign group Transport Solutions (TSLM) (1) lodged a legal challenge to the decision to approve the Heysham M6 Link Road.
 
The challenge is based on 5 grounds, where legal advice is that the decision was wrong in law.
 
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced on 19th March that he had granted approval for the Heysham M6 Link Road. His decision was based on the report from the Planning Inspectorate’s Peter Robottom, following the Examination in Lancaster Town Hall in the summer of last year.
 
“The decision was a great disappointment to opponents of this controversial project,” said David Gate, Chair of TSLM. “It is the wrong solution to the district’s transport problems. But we have sought legal advice, and that advice is that the decision is wrong in law, too. The consensus opinion is that there are 5 very substantial grounds on which the decision should be challenged, ranging from incorrect treatment of European nature conservation designations to the fact that the scheme is not and never was a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. These areas of concern call into question the legality of the decision made by the Transport Secretary.” (3)
 
TSLM has already had many pledges of financial support for such a Review, and that support makes the challenge a viable one.
 
“There is still so much opposition to this damaging scheme.” said Mr Gate, “We owe it to the many people who have objected strongly to follow the legal advice we are receiving.”
 
TSLM is not undertaking the legal action lightly and is applying for an order (2) to cap the amount of money it would have to pay if the case were lost.
 
David Gate concluded: “Judging by the reaction to the decision to go-ahead, there are thousands of people who find that decision perverse and ill-founded on transport, environmental and economic grounds. The decision should be tested, and our challenge will test it.”

ENDS – 321 WORDS

For further information contact David Gate on 01524 63163
 
(1) Transport Solutions for Lancaster & Morecambe (TSLM) is the local campaign Group which opposes the construction of the Heysham M6 Link Northern Route, and favours instead non-damaging sustainable transport solutions for the 21st century.
 
(2) Aarhus Convention claim
 
(3) The grounds of the challenge are:
1)      The scheme is not a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, under the Planning Act, so should not have been dealt with by IPC/NID.
2)      Consultation was inadequate because LCC ruled out discussion of the principle of the scheme and the route chosen.
3)      National Policy Statements on Ports and Nuclear Power were used to justify the scheme, but were not relevant in the absence of any definite plans.
4)      The Western Route was wrongly dismissed, without going through the appropriate procedures.
5)      LCC failed to carry out surveys of otters, a European Protected Species, as they were legally obliged to do, so failed to assess potential harm to them.

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TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS FOR LANCASTER & MORECAMBE (TSLM) press release 02/04/13

Local Campaigners disappointed with Green Light for Link Road

 
TSLM, the local campaign group opposed to the Heysham-M6 Link Road (1), have expressed disappointment with the decision to allow the road to go ahead. But they are astonished that the green light was given after the Examiner found so much to criticise about the scheme.
 
David Gate, Chair of TSLM, said “How can such a decision be justified when the Examiner accepts that the road will cause great harm to the landscape north of Lancaster ? The Examiner also said that (the road) is inappropriate development in the Green Belt and will harm wildlife.”
 
Despite the Climate Change Act requiring a mandatory reduction in CO2 emissions, the road will increase them. The Examiner calls this “a significantly negative factor”. “So this Government project is breaking the Government’s own law” says David Gate. “So much for the law of the land, which the Transport Secretary is ignoring to press ahead with this polluting road.”
 
Amongst other acknowledged weaknesses in the M6 Link, the Examiner judged that the speculative benefits could be much lower than the County Council claims, and that the traffic forecasts have slumped since the road was first justified. He also acknowledged that the road does not comply with Department for Transport guidance in some of the design solutions adopted.
 
Perversely, the Examiner seems to have accepted the argument that traffic to Heysham Port has expanded. However, figures show that expansion has only taken place in the last few quarters when, in reality, overall traffic has declined since 1997.
 
The argument about the road assisting the construction of a future third Nuclear Power Station at Heysham has been undermined by the withdrawal from the scene of EDF, the French Nuclear Power producer, which has said “au revoir” to constructing a Heysham Three.
 
David Gate continued: “The Examiner has accepted that traffic on the strategic Lune Bridges will decrease, but this modest aim has to be seen in the context of traffic going up on some roads and down on others.  Sadly, he has also fallen for the County Council’s argument that a saving of a meagre 5 minutes at peak times only is worth £123 million out of our collective pockets.”
 
TSLM thinks that the Examiner’s recommendation does not stand up, and the Government’s decision is flawed. So, on behalf of all the many people who oppose the project, TSLM is discussing with legal advisers the possibility of mounting a legal challenge to the many weaknesses of this decision.         
 
 ENDS
417 Words
 
For further comment or clarification contact David Gate on 01524 63163
 
(1) Transport Solutions for Lancaster & Morecambe (TSLM) is the local campaign Group which opposes the construction of the Heysham M6 Link Northern Route, and favours instead non-damaging sustainable transport solutions for the 21st century.
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Transport Solutions for Lancaster & Morecambe
Press Release 19-03-2013
 
Link Road Decision Bad News for Area
 
The decision to go ahead with the Heysham M6 Link Road is bad news for the area, says TSLM, the local campaign group.
 
The Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin today announced that the £123 million scheme had been given the go-ahead.
 
But David Gate of TSLM said: “This is the wrong decision. The benefits claimed for the scheme are false
 
“- It does not solve congestion. As the Council admitted at the recent Examination:  “The Link Road is not intended to solve Lancaster ’s problems”. Traffic goes down on some roads but up on others. On Morecambe Road it does both: down in the East but up in the West.
 
“- It won’t bring jobs: except in the construction phase
New roads don’t create jobs, just move them about
 
“- It reduces journey times by only 5 minutes, at peak times only.”
           
“It won’t bring prosperity for local businesses, and businessmen know it.” Mr Gate explains “When they were asked to contribute to the cost (in 2010), none did.”
 
And yet there are alternatives that would work better and are cheaper, but the Council haven’t investigated them.
 
“We shall look at the decision and take legal advice. Were all the issues considered properly? For example, otters are protected under European law. The Council denied they are there, but there is proof that they are. How can the Council protect them if they don’t know where they are?”
 
Ends

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TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS FOR LANCASTER AND MORECAMBE

 

PRESS RELEASE – OCTOBER 2012

 

LATEST UPDATE ON THE HEYSHAM-M6 LINK ROAD

 
The Public Examination into the highly controversial Heysham–M6 Link Road closed on the 20th September. Examiner Mr Peter Robottom now has three months to prepare his report to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin.
 
The new Transport Secretary then has three months in which to make his decision. Appointed only recently, Patrick McLoughlin has already had to preside over the debacle of the West Coast Main Line franchise. Opponents of the road hope that his experience of the faulty finances behind that franchise process will set the alarm bells ringing regarding Lancashire County Council’s flawed financial justification of this proposed scheme.
 
It is now expected that an announcement of the decision on the road will be made in March 2013.
 
The road’s principal objector has been Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe (TSLM) and it, together with important regional and national allies has presented a strong case against the road. However, it was the statement of the road’s developer, the County Council, which first caught the headlines. The manager for the Link Road project, Steven McCreesh, admitted very early on: “The Link Road is not intended to solve Lancaster ’s problems”, which will come as a surprise and a disappointment to most local people.
 
Traffic figures used the County Council in 2007 have proved to be inaccurate by 20% – 30%, yet these are the figures on which the go-ahead for the scheme was given. The figures for this examination date from 2008 and are almost certainly wrong, too.
 
The forecast timesavings on journeys made on the new road have dwindled to just 5 minutes - at peak times only. What a vast amount of money to spend for so little obvious improvement, – this is a route for long distance lorry drivers, but they will hardly notice the negligible improvement!
 
The County Council has paid scant attention to alternative traffic measures that could provide a viable but much cheaper option.
 
There is mounting evidence that Otters, a Protected Species under European Law, are present and active in parts of the environment where engineering work will have to take place. This does not appear to have registered with the County Council, whose surveys have been grossly inadequate and misleading.
 
TSLM asks again – how can a £123M scheme be justified on such flimsy and inaccurate grounds?
 
ENDS
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Transport Solutions for Lancaster & Morecambe
 
TSLM Press Release 1st August 2012
 
Link Road justification shot to pieces
The Hearings into the Heysham M6 Link Road in the last few weeks have revealed that the justification for the scheme has been shot to pieces.
The Examination is being conducted by Mr Robottom, the Examiner for the new planning body, the National Infrastructure Directorate or NID, previously IPC.
The new process, with the Examiner asking questions, rather than expensive barristers fighting it out, has revealed the holes in Lancashire County Council’s case.
“The Link Road is not intended to solve Lancaster ’s problems” was the surprising admission from the manager for the Link Road , Steven McCreesh.
The Council has had to admit that the traffic figures they used in 2007 were wrong by 20 to 30%. They forecast that traffic would increase by 1.5% per year, but the actual increase has been only 0.5% per year. The scheme was given the go ahead on those wrong figures, but things look very different now.
“We questioned those figures back in 2007, and time has proved us right”, said David Gate, Chair of local campaign group TSLM (1). “Now they’re using figures from 2008, and there’s no guarantee they’re correct either. It’s preposterous to justify a £123 million scheme on such flimsy grounds”.
The forecast time savings on journeys on the new road have gone down to 5 minutes, at peak times only, hardly noticeable for the long-distance drivers who will be using it.
The Council haven’t investigated the alternatives, a package of transport measures that would really reduce congestion. These alternatives look even more attractive now, and cheaper in these days of cost-cutting.
The “Open Floor” Hearings, in Lancaster Town Hall and Torrisholme, have given everyone the chance to speak their mind. 31 people did so, and 30 of them told the Examiner how strongly they opposed this damaging and polluting scheme.
The Examination is expected to end in mid September, with a decision announced in early 2013.
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Media release 16/07/2012

Council admit: Link Road not a solution to Lancaster 's transport problems

“The Link road is not intended to solve Lancaster ’s problems,” Lancashire Council admitted at the Examination of the Heysham M6 Link Road last Thursday.
 
This surprising admission was made by Lancashire’s manager for the Road, Steven McCreesh, at Lancaster Town Hall . The £123 million plus road is “mainly to access the peninsula, it’s not a bypass for Lancaster ” he added.
 
It was also revealed last week that:
·      The traffic forecasts used at the Public Inquiry in 2007 got it wrong by 20-30%, and there is no guarantee that they are right this time.
·      Latest forecasts are based on 2008 data. It is not acceptable for a project costing £123 million of public money to go ahead based on information that is so out of date.
·      Carbon emissions, which are closely related to traffic, went down 10% in Lancaster in the period 2005-09
·      Non-road alternatives must be properly described and evaluated, and they have not been.
·      The road increases pollution and prevents progress on reducing emissions to stop climate change

“The Road got the go ahead based on figures which have turned out to be wrong” said DG, chair of local campaign group TSLM, “and we can’t trust the forecasts now, based on old data.”
 
He went on “Yet there are alternatives which would work. This Road scheme should be withdrawn in favour of a package of alternative measures which together would reduce congestion in the district”.

 
 
For more information:
David Gate on 01524 63163



PRESS AND MEDIA RELEASE 04 July 2012

THE EXAMINER COMES TO TOWN

Local people are to be given an opportunity to talk directly to the Examiner at the Inquiry into the Heysham M6 Link Road. Formerly the IPC (infrastructure Planning Commission), the national planning forum has just been renamed as the National Infrastructure Directorate (NID) and will continue the examination of the case for and against the proposed road. As part of that Inquiry the Examiner will be coming to Lancaster in July.

 The office of the NID has agreed to hold “Open Floor” meetings on the 17th, 18th and 19th July and the Examiner has determined that two on the 18th July should be held at Torrisholme Methodist Church at 2.00pm and again at 6.30pm.  The other two will be held at Lancaster Town Hall at 9.30am. “Open Floor” meetings are held to give ordinary people the opportunity to put to the Inspector their own very personal view of the impact of the road on them and their families.

 It is thought by Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe (TSLM) that people will be given up to 15 minutes to make their points to the Examiner and there will be no cross-examination, making it a much more comfortable experience for people to put over their views.

 TSLM is urging residents of Torrisholme and any other affected areas to turn up on the day and show the Examiner the strength of feeling about what is seen by many people as this expensive, unnecessary and damaging road. TSLM says that some people feel that the result of the Inquiry is a foregone conclusion (which is certainly what Lancashire County Council would have everyone believe) but TSLM warns against complacency and states that there are already opportunities for the principal supporters & objectors to have their say on a range of specific and important subjects. However, the “Open Floor” hearings are not intended for those organisations.

 David Gate, the Chairman of TSLM, the principal opposition to the road, says: It is very important for those people that feel strongly about this road to come along on the 18th and make the Examiner very aware of how strongly local people oppose the road.” He concluded: “ We want the Examiner to know that it is not just vested interests that can have a say but that local residents can play an important and influential role in the new planning process.”

 Ends

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TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS FOR LANCASTER AND MORECAMBE
 
MEDIA RELEASE – MAY 2012
 
HEYSHAM – M6 LINK ROAD TO GO UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
 
As the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) (1) begins its examination of the case for and against the proposed Heysham to the M6 Link Road , the opposition has assembled a strong and what it hopes will be a persuasive case against the road.
 
Local campaign group Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe (TSLM) (2) has been the principal objector to the road for the past seven years, and has now completed the final touches to the arguments to be placed before the Examiner in the case. Written representations were submitted to the IPC before the 8th May deadline.
 
TSLM has been joined by respected national organisations Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Campaign for Better Transport (CBT), and regional transport specialists North West Transport Roundtable (NW TAR), who agree that this road scheme is the wrong way forward, and against national policy.
 
TSLM and its allies have taken a wide overview of the proposals put forward by the road’s promoter, Lancashire County Council, but are placing particular emphasis on a number of specific strands of its argument against the road. Members of TSLM, its allied organisations and individual experts, have placed some of these strands under the microscope and have put forward what they consider to be a highly compelling case against the road on a number of important grounds (3) including
·          failure to reduce congestion and traffic levels in Lancaster
·          failure to bring the hoped-for jobs
·          minimal journey time savings
·          damage to the environment and wildlife,
·          damaging impact on local people
·          increase in harmful pollution
 
“£41 million per mile for a road that doesn’t solve congestion or bring jobs is not Value for Money,” says David Gate, Chair of TSLM. “This road should be rejected: there are far better alternatives that are cheaper and would really work.”
 
The examination by the IPC will continue over the summer and end in October.  

ENDS

 
Notes for Editors
 
Further information: David Gate on 01524 63163
 
(1) Since April 2012, renamed the National Infrastructure Directorate (NID) at the Planning Inspectorate.
 
(2) Transport Solutions for Lancaster & Morecambe (TSLM) is the local campaign Group which opposes the construction of the Heysham M6 Link Northern Route, and favours instead non-damaging sustainable transport solutions for the 21st century.
 
 
(3) Representations include:
TSLM                         (i) Heysham Port
(ii) Economic impacts
(iii) Flood risk
(iv) Environmental Impact
CPRE: Andy Yuille (i) Landscape & Green Belt
(ii) Complementary measures
NW TAR & CBT:       (i) Transport Appraisal
(ii) Traffic growth, forecasts & national policy
Alan James:              Inadequate Assessment of Alternatives
John Whitelegg        (i) Traffic Modelling & Forecasting
(ii) Climate Change
Tim Hamilton-Cox:   Peak Oil
Jo Guiver:                  Sustainability
Halton Residents’ Group
 
Representations can be viewed at



Transport Solutions for Lancaster & Morecambe

 Press Release 05 December 2011

`Lady Godiva Rides Again’

Nearly 1,000 years since her first outing, Lady Godiva will rode naked through the streets of the historic village of Halton, to say “NO to the M6 Link Road”.

She was followed by enthusiastic supporters from Halton, Lancaster and Morecambe with banners and placards, objecting to the controversial Link Road, which will bring 74% more traffic to Halton’s narrow streets.

Halton’s Godiva has the same principles as the last one, where she felt so aggrieved by her husband’s unjust taxes that she was willing to humiliate herself to get him to reconsider. Halton’s Lady Godiva was protesting against the £12 million, rising to £30 million, that the people of Lancashire will have to pay for the unpopular Link Road.

Mike Jacob, local committee chair said, “The proposed bypass will put people at risk in our narrow village streets, and will ultimately lead to the collapse of another English village with a strong sense of community”

H e added “The people of Lancashire will pay dearly for a road that will not ease congestion or bring jobs.”

 

For more information:

contact TSLM1952@hotmail.co.uk

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TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS FOR LANCASTER AND MORECAMBE
 

PRESS AND MEDIA RELEASE – OCTOBER 17 2011

 

Lancashire leads the way

 
The Heysham M6 Link Road is the costliest of all Britain 's local authority road schemes, it was revealed this week, in figures released by the Department for Transport.
 
At £41 million per mile, it beats its nearest rival hands down. (That's £25,677 per metre, or £648 per inch, if you prefer (1)). Second-placed Kingskerswell in Devon can only manage £19,582 per metre. (2)

Yet plans are full steam ahead to fund this top-priced scheme.
 
Yes, this is in the same universe as the one where councils such as Lancashire are cutting services, everything from youth services to residential care homes and many jobs, cuts that damage people’s lives.
 
What’s more, Lancashire County Council has earned the promise of some government funding by increasing its own contribution to £12.3 million, and accepting all cost overruns. As the transport mandarins coldly put it: Cost risk sits with the promoter.
 
Road schemes always go over budget. TSLM (3) has argued since last January that the real cost estimate for the HM6L is at least £17 million more than currently admitted, all of which will end up being paid by the Council.  The Council’s response so far has been a deafening silence.
 
And even that is not the end of the story. Of 19 recently completed bypasses, the average increase in costs during the construction period is 13% (4). That would be another £16-18 million for Lancashire ’s taxpayers to find.
 
For cutting essential services and for spending on the country’s most costly road scheme, Lancashire leads the way.
 
ENDS
 
268 Words
Note to Editors:
For further information ring David Gate on 01524 63163
(1) Heysham M6 Link Road: Cost £123.25 million; length 4.8 kilometres. 
(3) Transport Solutions for Lancaster & Morecambe (TSLM) is the local campaign Group which opposes the construction of the Heysham M6 Link Northern Route, and favours instead non-damaging sustainable transport solutions for the 21st century. See website www.HeyshamM6Link.info


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2nd August 2011


TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS

FOR LANCASTER AND MORECAMBE

 

PRESS AND MEDIA RELEASE

 

Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe (TSLM) has received support from three national groups concerned with transport issues. The support is in connection with the proposed and highly contentious Heysham-M6 Link Road (HM6L) and allegations that Lancashire County Council (LCC) “actively misled” the Department for Transport (DfT) earlier in the year over savings it claimed would be made by raising the level of Shefferlands Roundabout near Halton.

 

The Campaign for Better Transport has written to Transport Minister, Norman Baker, and is supported by the Campaign for to Protect Rural England and by Friends of the Earth.

 

TSLM is the locally based campaign group that opposes the construction of the Heysham –M6 Link Road on the northern route. David Gate, spokesman for TSLM said that the recent funding bid by the County had clearly stated that savings amounting to £7.3 million pounds could be achieved by not removing soil from the Shefferlands Roundabout. But now, says Mr Gate, the County has revealed in recent consultations that there was never any intention of removing soil from the site.  Mr Gate describes this as a “phantom saving” and accuses the County Council of being so desperate to obtain government funding for the project that they misled the DfT by claiming savings that do not add up.

 

Mr Gate continued: “This is very bad news for people across the whole of Lancashire. In the scramble for government funding LCC agreed to double its own contribution to £12.3M AND to take on all the extra costs, cost overruns and inflation.” He added: “This could well be as much as £33.3M and it is the people of Lancashire who will have to pay.”

 

The total grant for all transport-related projects across the County for the next four years is £38M.  The HM6L project alone will eat up most of that and, says Mr Gate: “There will be no money left for much-needed transport projects in the rest of Lancashire. At a time when LCC is cutting jobs and services this wasteful project must be stopped now.”

 

In a final blast at the HM6L project he adds: “Plans do exist to solve congestion and save £100 million, without building this costly and hugely damaging road that will neither solve congestion nor bring about job creation on the planned scale.”

 

ENDS

391 words

For further information contact:

David Gate on 01524 63163

  • Letter from CBT attached.
  • The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) is the UK’s leading authority on sustainable transport. It champions transport solutions that improve peoples’ lives and reduce environmental damage. Its campaigns promote innovative and practical policies at local and national levels.

www.bettertransport.org.uk

 

  • Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) campaigns for a sustainable future for the English countryside.

www.cpre.org.uk

 

  • Friends of the Earth (FoE) campaigns internationally on environmental issues.

www.foe.co.uk/index.html

 

  • Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe (TSLM) is the local campaign group that opposes the construction of the Heysham-M6 Link Road Northern Route nd favours instead non-damaging and sustainable transport solutions for the 21st Century.

www.heyahamm6link.info/

 

2nd August 2011