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SOUTH BEDFORDSHIRE FRIENDS OF THE EARTH

PRESS RELEASE

 

Linslade bypass protesters secure transport victory

due to protest

 

South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth have secured firm commitments from Buckinghamshire County Council for public transport measures due to the pressure of the local protests against the Stoke-Hammond - Linslade Bypass [1].  These commitments came after meetings between South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth and Head of Transportation, Garrett Emmerson, mediated by Transport 2000 Director Stephen Joseph OBE [2].  The protest against the road is still continuing, and Bypass campaigners will now attempt to secure similar agreements on public transport measures in the Bedfordshire area.
 

The commitments agreed today include:

  • a firm proposal for an express bus service between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes.

  • a package of facilities ensuring safe pedestrian movement, particularly for children, on the A4146

  • improvements to Linslade town bus services

  • consideration of speed limits and speed management measures

  • the Council to work jointly with Bedfordshire County Council in consultation with South Beds Friends of the Earth, to develop proposals for the required measures in Leighton
    Linslade.

South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth welcomed today's statement by Buckinghamshire County Council in particular the concern for the children of Stoke Hammond and Linslade, which has come about as a result of the protests.
 
Victoria Harvey of South Beds Friends of the Earth said:
 
"At last the County Council can be seen to be positively dealing with some of the key issues that are at the heart of the reasons behind the protest. We are very unhappy at new road building, as it'll worsen climate change and our children’s futures, and are very distressed at the threat to such beautiful countryside that is so rich in wildlife. However we are very keen to achieve any benefits for the local community in particular road safety measures for children both in Stoke Hammond and in Linslade."
 
She added, "If only the Council had considered and implemented all these measures beforehand, instead of ploughing ahead with an outdated and devastating road; this protest wouldn't have been necessary, and I wouldn't have got arrested!  Before they let the main contract for this road, they should implement these measures and try and reduce congestion in a sustainable and modern way.   We are very pleased that as a result of these discussions there is now a firm proposal for an express bus service between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes.  Also we have been promised a significant improvement in local bus services, at least undoing the recent cuts in services that have made life so difficult for so many people.  We are very concerned about the fifth of the population who do not have access to a car, and improved bus services will help these people."
 
"Whilst the protest against the bypass is still continuing and is still a virtually entirely local protest we hope that this will lead to a much more positive working relationship with Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire County Councils that will produce tangible benefits for local people."
 
Local website about the protest is at
www.linsladeprotest.org.uk
 

 

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NOTES TO EDITORS

[1]  The £50 million Stoke Hammond and Linslade Western Bypass is the first of four bypasses, which will provide a dual carriageway between Milton Keynes and Aylesbury. This is in one of the Government's 'growth areas', with Milton Keynes set to have 44,000 new homes by 2021, South Bedfordshire 26,000, and Aylesbury 15,000.  Protesters believe that it is the first piece of infrastructure to pave the way for the huge housing development planned for the 'Growth Area'.
 
[2]  Transport 2000 are the national environmental transport body. See www.transport2000.org.uk
 
[3]  South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth, and others, have opposed this scheme for years, including through the 2003 Public Inquiry.  The protest started on 17th January when clearance work was due to start on the scheme.  Sixty local residents turned out to oppose the bulldozers.  Work was temporarily suspended when two women chained themselves to a digger to prevent illegal felling of trees.  A constant vigil has been kept up by local residents, with a treehouse and camp established on 23rd January.  Local residents have been engaged in conducting surveys of local residents' views, and leafleting.  A Public Meeting is also being organised, in contrast with the last consultation by Buckinghamshire County Council in 1982.

 

CONTACT

Victoria Harvey of South Beds FoE on 01525 385097 and 07815 817108 and vharvey@btopenworld.com

 

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