Green fears over 'outer M25'

NEW road schemes in East Anglia could result in an 'outer M25' and could place the countryside of the South East in a hangman's noose, an environmental group has warned.

NEW road schemes in East Anglia could result in an 'outer M25' and could place the countryside of the South East in a hangman's noose, an environmental group has warned.

According to Transport 2000, the results of various plans to upgrade routes in the region could result in a new outer orbital road, which would become a second M25.

The new road would lead to "massive expansion in housing, airports, ports, traffic and road building", the report added.

Transport 2000 believes there could be a third more road traffic by 2016, a doubling of air travel by 2020 and hundreds of thousands of new homes by 2031, including as many as 500,000 in the London/ Stansted/Cambridge corridor alone.


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It also said there could be a 45% rise in tonnage through South East ports, including Harwich and Felixstowe by 2016.

Report author and transport consultant Jonathan Bray said: "As the M25 generated car-dependent sprawl and transformed the region, so an outer M25 would amplify and extend the damage.

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"It would also stimulate and facilitate wider plans for huge growth in ports, airports, traffic and housing.

Transport 2000 director Stephen Joseph said: "An outer M25 would lead to an explosion in traffic and other development and would place the countryside of the South East in a hangman's noose.

"This is not just an environmentalists' bad dream but a real possibility that should send a chill down the spine of all those who live in this corner of England. However, this is not yet a fait accompli like so many road schemes - now is the time for people to say what they think."

David Simmonds, from the Council for the Protection of Rural Essex (CPRE), said it agreed with the report's findings.

He said: "More and more of our precious countryside is being carved up by roads. The prospect of a lower Thames crossing as part of the M25 is a big concern because it will lead to an increased amount of traffic passing through the county."

Friends of the Earth's Transport Campaigner Tony Bosworth said: "An outer M25 has been a glint in the eyes of the roads lobby for many years. It's a nightmare vision that will be with us until the Government gets to grips with our transport problems."

Rodney Bass, Essex county councillor cabinet member with responsibilities for transport, said he was aware of the potential problem.

He said: "Essex County Council was the first to warn of the fear of an outer M25 by default."

But he added upgrades to "overloaded" individual roads in the county such as the A120 were all necessary in their own right.

"There is a need to upgrade the spinal roads out of London with the priority being the A12 and making it a three-lane carriageway from the capital to Ipswich."

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