The Highways Agency has delayed the construction of the controversial Mottram-Tintwistle bypass by up to four years to 2016/17.
The double bypass scheme would improve journey times between Manchester and Sheffield, but carve a path through the revered Peak District.
A single Public Inquiry would have covered the bypasses of Mottram in Longdendale, Hollingworth and Tintwistle, but this has now been delayed by up to four years, putting the entire scheme back.
£15M has so far been spent on the scheme, including the original 15 days of Public Inquiry that was abandoned due to errors in the Agency’s original submissions. There is no firm start date in sight.
The Agency’s Major Projects Director, Nirmal Kotecha, said: “Draft proposals for the scheme were published in 2007. Since then a Public Inquiry has been started and adjourned and there have been changes to the traffic model and the environmental statement.”
The Campaign for Better Transport today welcomed the news, their Roads and climate campaigner Richard George said: “This is fantastic news for the hundreds of local people who have been fighting against this scheme, and a welcome dose of common sense from the Highways Agency. National Parks are places of exceptional natural beauty, not convenient places to put a mini-motorway.
“The Highways Agency has had 18 months to make the case for the road; that they have finally admitted defeat should send a clear signal that there is neither the need nor the political will for the scheme. Surely the only sensible solution would be to abandon it altogether and concentrate on tackling the very real problems of lorries by banning HGVs from the national park.”