New road development threatens the Peak District – and we need your help

  • Contributor information: CNP

Anne Robinson, from Friends of the Peak District/CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire, on the road building threat facing the Peak District National Park and what action is being taken to stop it in its tracks.

The A57 Link Roads (so called Mottram bypass) on the western edge of the Peak District National Park have been given the go-ahead by Mark Harper, the Secretary of State for Transport, despite the damage they would do to the UK’s first National Park. 

The eastern half of the proposed dual carriageway around Mottram (red line on photo) as it leaves the underpass on the left-hand side of the picture and descends to meet Mottram Moor on the right-hand side of picture. The National Park is off picture to the right.

The dual carriageway of the Mottram bypass would lie within the setting of the National Park, also Manchester’s Green Belt. Not only would it invade and split up the green fields, encouraging sprawling infill housing development around Mottram and Hollingworth but it would also increase traffic through the Peak Park. This would further erode the peace and quiet people come to enjoy from these strongly protected landscapes.

Under these circumstances the Secretary of State has a statutory duty to consider the impacts on the Park when making his decision about the new road.  Although he agreed with CPRE that the traffic increases within the National Park would be significant, he judged the new roads more important than the protecting the National Park. His dismissal shows how important it is that this duty is strengthened, as CNP has argued.

Adding insult to injury the Mottram Bypass is likely to be the start of dualling the A628 trunk road through Longdendale. For decades CPRE has fought to protect beautiful Longdendale from development and increased traffic, from a motorway in the 1970s to a bypass in 2007, neither of which were realised.

CPRE’s 1970’s mock-up of a motorway in the Peak District National Park across the upper reaches of the River Etherow in Longdendale.

But a grandiose scheme to tunnel under the National Park was resurrected in 2015. The long tunnel proved too expensive but plans for motorway-style dualling, with the majority overground, through Longdendale remain as pictured below. If they come to fruition, the road would see a three-fold traffic increase of more than 35,000 vehicles daily.

What we’re doing to take action – and how you can help

The only way to stop the scheme is through legal challenge of Mr Harper’s decision. CPRE PDSY has filed a claim with the High Court. If we get permission to proceed, we will have a full court hearing to discuss the merits of our case. Substantial funds are needed to cover our legal costs so we are fundraising on CrowdJustice. Please visit our crowdfunding page and give what you can afford, share the link around your friends and networks – and accept our heartfelt thanks for all your support. 

Campaign for National Parks is campaigning hard to secure legal reforms in Westminster ​​​that will strengthen the duties on organisations like National Highways, to ensure that they do far more to protect and enhance our most precious landscapes. You can read more about this important work here.