PRESS RELEASE REGARDING THE A417 ‘MISSING LINK’ STATUTORY CONSULTATION
13 October – 12 November 2020
From: Cotswolds Conservation Board, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, and the National
Highways England have today put forward their proposed revisions to the A417 Missing Link road scheme, addressing some of the concerns raised in feedback from the October 2019 public
Collectively, the Cotswolds Conservation Board (operating as Cotswolds National Landscape),
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the National Trust are encouraged by recent discussions with
Highways England and believe that the proposed changes in this second statutory consultation have the potential to improve the scheme.
However, Highways England are aware we still have areas of concern, including the functionality and design of some of the crossings and overbridges. The three overbridges must deliver their intended outcomes – connecting habitats via wildlife corridors and counteracting the negative impacts of the new dual carriageway on protected wildlife sites. The crossings and overbridges should also be visually in tune with the special characteristics of the Cotswolds landscape.
We share concerns about the impact on Sites of Special Scientific Interest, in particular high priority habitats (such as lowland calcareous grassland). Careful design and mitigation can help to reduce biodiversity losses but we are encouraging Highways England go further and seek biodiversity net gain.
The organisations remain committed to constructive discussions with Highways England. We support the need to resolve safety and congestion issues but believe equal consideration should be given to reducing and mitigating environmental impacts as to engineering design. This would help to ensure the right level of protection for the natural beauty, diverse wildlife and unique heritage of the Cotswolds.
It is essential that the scheme brings benefits for people, the landscape and wildlife at a time when the importance of nature and outdoor green space has become clearer and more precious than ever. Highways England has a real opportunity to deliver on their landscape-led vision, meet the Government’s call to ‘build better, build greener’ and honour the Prime Minister’s renewed commitment to support the recovery of nature.
Each organisation will now closely examine the details published today and submit full individual responses in due course.
Information about the A417 ‘Missing Link’ scheme can be found on Highways England’s website.
Cotswolds Conservation Board (operating as Cotswolds National Landscape):
The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high-quality landscape. The Cotswolds is the third largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust:
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) works closely with local communities, landowners and partners to deliver much-needed conservation work across more than 1000 hectares of nature reserves, and within the wider landscape of Gloucestershire. This vital work safeguards these remaining special wild places and drives nature’s recovery, working towards a future where the countryside thrives once more with wildlife, wildflowers, trees, butterflies, insects and animals. The charity also delivers a vast range of events and projects across the county, as well as providing free public access to its nature reserves, enabling people from all backgrounds to spend time outdoors and get closer to nature.
The National Trust is a conservation charity founded in 1895 by three people who saw the importance of our nation’s heritage and open spaces and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy. Entirely independent of Government, the National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 778 miles of coastline and hundreds of special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The National Trust works in partnership with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to look after and protect Crickley Hill, its archaeology, limestone
grassland, ancient woodland and diverse wildlife.
For further press information and images please contact:
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust – firstname.lastname@example.org
National Trust – Sue.Wharmby@nationaltrust.org.uk