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Friends provident


Engineers can be, and often are, friends of the earth. But Antony Oliver seems to have written his recent editorial comment looking through rosetinted glasses (NCE 4 November).

The Bingley Relief Road might have brought relief from congestion to some, but it has moved the problem a couple of miles down the Aire Valley, increasing rat-running through Saltaire, a residential area and World Heritage Site.

Mr Oliver says that it is 'just plain wrong' to say that the Bingley Relief Road destroyed one of Britain's top wildlife sites. But the road goes across Bingley South Bog, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. How can this be an example of engineers 'working hand in hand with the natural environment'?

Friends of the Earth is not hiding from the fact the people want to travel, but we have to be aware of the impacts of rising traffic levels. Cars contribute to climate change and create more demand for damaging road-building.

We have to invest more in public transport and in making streets safer for cycling and walking so that people can use their cars less.

Finally Mr Oliver says 'the days of head-on battles with the environmental community are a thing of the past'. I wish this was the case but, while there are proposals to build the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road, to dual the A303 through the Blackdown Hills and to expand airports, there are still many campaigns for the environmental community to fight and win.

Tony Bosworth, senior transport campaigner, Friends of the Earth,

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