Council proposes preferred route to government for A30 improvements
Posted on: 15 December 2016
Devon County Council’s Cabinet yesterday (Wednesday 14 December) agreed to propose a preferred route to government for a £180 million improvement scheme for the A30.
Councillors approved recommendations to put the “Orange Route”, as modified through consultation, to the Secretary of State as the preferred route, for his view and potential implementation.
It follows a public consultation throughout August and September during which the County Council presented three route options (Orange Route, Blue North and Blue South), to improve the A30 between Honiton and Devonshire Inn. More than 880 responses were received during the public consultation, in which 53% of respondents agreed that there was a need for improvements
The government confirmed in the Autumn Statement in 2014 that the full A303 corridor, together with the A358 from the Ilminster roundabout to Taunton, will be upgraded in addition to “smaller scale improvements” to the A30/A303 between Honiton and Southfields. It followed economic studies commissioned by Devon and Somerset County Councils to highlight the benefits of improvements. Hundreds of businesses and visitors were also surveyed which showed widespread support for improving the A30/A358/A303 route from the South West to the South East.
Research found improvements to the whole route could provide 21,400 jobs, a £41.6 billion boost to the economy and £1.9 billion in transport benefits from reduced journey times. An upgrade could also prevent more than 1,800 fatal or serious injuries over 60 years and reduce carbon emissions by 9%. Although the section of the A303/A30 between Honiton to Ilminster was not included in the government’s Road Investment Strategy 2015-2020, the government recognised that some improvements were necessary.
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth, said: “There has to be a second strategic route into the South West to improve safety and give us resilience for economic reasons. We have been encouraged by Government and MPs throughout this process and this is the start of a long process. We’re only recommending it to Government – it’s not our road, so they will need to progress this and find the funding.”
Councillor Paul Diviani, County Councillor for Honiton St Paul’s, said: “Successive governments have been talking about improving this route since 1949 But unfortunately it’s all talk and minimal action. We must snap out of this complacency. The road is littered with speed roundels painted on the road through the Blackdowns indicating fatal accident spots. The Orange route has raised landscape and environmental impact concerns from the Blackdown Road Action Group and residents of Cotleigh and Upottery but sufficient mitigation measures will be put in place to reduce the effects of these on the AONB. At the end of the day there has to be a balance between the safety of human life and the environment.”
The County Council allocated funds to progress potential improvement options as an initial stage. These proposed improvements aim to encourage economic growth in the south west peninsula as well as the East of Exeter, and would also improve journey times, reliability and safety while minimising adverse environmental impacts through exemplary approaches to design and mitigation. The improvements would also ensure that any unavoidable impacts on the character and special qualities of the Blackdown Hills AONB are offset through a significant programme of compensatory measures and the inclusion of opportunities for environmental enhancement in line with AONB Management Plan objectives.
Devon County Council is planning to submit an Outline Business Case to the Department for Transport (DfT) early next year, with the aim of attracting Road investment Strategy 2 funding for 2020-2025. Although the County Council is proposing the wide single carriageway, featuring a two-plus-one lane layout with alternating overtaking opportunities, the authority is not proposing to adopt or approve any highway or other land that may be intended to be improved by the Secretary of State. Any further progress on the scheme would be carried out by the Department for Transport and Highways England.
For more information go to https://new.devon.gov.uk/a30-blackdownhills/
Posted in: Business and Economy | Environment