Campaigners call for A12 route to be turned into country park if upgrade goes ahead

Campaigner Rosie Pearson (inset) is calling on National Highways to rewild the A12 at Marks Tey

Campaigner Rosie Pearson (inset) is calling on National Highways to rewild the A12 at Marks Tey - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Rosie Pearson

Campaigners have called on National Highways to consider plans for a new country park to offset the environmental impact of widening the A12 in north Essex.

The Community Planning Alliance and nearby residents have launched an online petition urging the authority to rewild the current section of the road if the plans receive the go-ahead.

Rosie Pearson, chairman of the Community Planning Alliance, said it would be a "wonderful opportunity to do something different".

National Highways has recently launched what should be a final consultation on a £1billion upgrade of the A12 between Marks Tey and Chelmsford.

It is asking for the views of motorists and residents about the plan to widen 15 miles of the road to add extra carriageways — up to a total of 10 — and improve junctions.

The section of the A12 between Chelmsford and Colchester caters for up to 90,000 motorists every day and is used by HGV drivers travelling from the Port of Felixstowe.

Mrs Pearson believes the current section of the road should be rewilded if the plans receive the green light, as the A12 would be diverted south of Marks Tey.

She said: "I've long been concerned about the plans to build 10 lanes in rural north Essex. This seems a brilliant opportunity to do something exciting.

Most Read

"Everyone needs green space — we have seen that during Covid.

"The more lanes you build, the more cars will come. So this is a wonderful opportunity to do something different."

Michaela Longo, who said the proposed new road would be built around her home near Marks Tey, added: "The A12 is too small and I agree that it needs upgrading.

"Surely the plans should be for something that is more environmentally friendly? A country park would be the best way to offset the damage."

Kampandila Kaluba, National Highways' senior project manager, said planners were aiming to "protect and enhance" the environment with the scheme to upgrade the road.

He said: "We understand that the prospect of a new road can be daunting, and we are keen to work with people to understand and address their concerns.

"We take pride in being one of the most environmentally responsible road operators in the world, and we will seek to protect and enhance the environment as we deliver the A12 widening scheme between junction 19 and junction 25."