21 December 2016
Exeter Green Party has slammed Devon County Council councillors for approving a controversial new road scheme through the Blackdown Hills . One of the key objectives cited by the County Council for supporting the scheme is to ‘encourage economic growth in the South West peninsula and particularly the large scale planned development of Exeter’ .
The Greens have also expressed dismay at the fact that neither Pete Edwards, leader of Exeter City Council, or Richard Westlake, leader of the Labour group on Devon County Council, have responded to a letter on the subject from the Party sent over a month ago .
In the letter Exeter Green Party transport campaigner, Andrew Bell, asked for assurances that Exeter Labour Party didn’t support any of the road schemes being proposed. Mr Bell said:
“A major road scheme of this sort would severely damage the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). It is simply not possible to protect such an area by building a road through it. The Blackdown Hills offers a landscape precious in its own right but is also one that attracts tourists wishing to escape to somewhere untainted by roads and traffic and the environmental damage and noise they create”.
Exeter Greens are calling for the South West to present itself as ‘a beacon of 'green tourism' and that any investments in transport should be directed instead towards improving regional public transport and cycle routes. They also say that building new roads is incompatible with meeting greenhouse gas emission targets. Mr Bell said:
“Evidence consistently shows that all new road schemes generate extra traffic. The recent Paris Agreement on climate change, signed up to by all countries including the UK, means that the new A30 scheme is totally incompatible with agreed targets on reducing emissions.
“Given the emergency of climate instability and the huge reductions we need to make in greenhouse gas emissions, all new major road schemes in Exeter, Devon and beyond must from now on be rejected.”
Exeter Green Party say they will press Exeter Labour for a response. Mr Bell concluded:
“We expect the Conservatives to trash our environment, but given the positive noises on climate change and protecting our environment from Labour, we would hope they would strongly oppose this act of environmental vandalism.
“The growth of Exeter is cited as a major reason for the County Council supporting this damaging road scheme, so let’s hope Labour councillors can look beyond economic growth and see the bigger picture – our health, protecting our valuable green spaces and tackling the threats posed by climate change. They must reassure the people of Exeter and Devon that they will not support this scheme.”
Contact: Diana Moore 07903 932214
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