Government announces £32.7 million for A6-M1 link road

18th October 2021

Having long campaigned against the link road, CPRE Bedfordshire is extremely disappointed by the news.

With the Prime Minster’s recent conference speech which pledged to protect green spaces, and with COP26 on the horizon, the government’s announcement would appear to fly in the face of their own climate pledges.

Below we round up CPRE Bedfordshire’s objections to the scheme.

 

Impact on nature and the countryside

 

Ancient Woodland and SSSIs

The road will put many vulnerable habitats at risk – from ancient woodlands to chalk aquifers. Green links between Sundon and George woods will be severed and the biodiversity of the area put at risk.

 

Access to the countryside

Close to Luton, the area provides a place for many people to exercise and enjoy nature and the countryside. There are many public footpaths and both the Icknield Way and the John Bunyan Trail cross through. This valuable ‘green lung’ will be adversely impacted by a major new road.

 

Landscape – AONB

The 2019 Glover Review recommended that the Chilterns AONB be designated a National Park. The road would have a serious impact on the overall landscape and the character of the area.

Bluebell Woods From Field | Keith Brown

 

Climate

A new road will lead to more traffic, increased air pollution and harmful emissions. This is bad for us, bad for wildlife along the route and bad for the climate. This is the time for an emphasis on sustainable transport options rather than more roads.

 

Tranquillity

The plans will lead to increased noise and light pollution in the area. The Chilterns AONB should be protected as a tranquil place for people and wildlife.

A couple with their eyes closed in a peaceful landscape
Enjoying the peace of the countryside

 

Economic, political and democratic impact

 

Cost

The total cost of building and maintaining the road, including required environmental mitigations is unclear. The cost has been estimated at over £60 million; equating to at least £22.2 million per mile over the 2.7 mile route.

 

Consultation

CPRE Bedfordshire have consistently expressed concerns about the lack of thorough public consultation on the plans. The need for the road has been assumed by Central Bedfordshire Council rather than properly assessed; including the potential environmental impact.

 

Climate hypocrisy

In July 2019 Central Bedfordshire Council committed to prioritise responding to climate change with the creation of a Climate Change Plan. The detrimental environmental impact of the planned road also goes against SEMLEPs Sustainability Policy.

Climate protestors holding up banners
Climate protestors
Green Economy

The need for economic recovery post COVID-19 has been widely welcomed as a chance to build a low carbon economy. Road building is out of step with this aspiration.

 

Read more from CPRE Bedfordshire on this story

Exploring the route – maps and pictures

Timeline – how did we get here?

Our AONB might be a local asset but it is also a national asset

 

Bluebell Woods From Side Of Proposed A6-M1 Link Road Keith Brown
Quernmore landscape