Plans to dual York Outer Ring Road approved despite Extinction Rebellion protest

Plans to dual a stretch of York’s Outer Ring Road have been approved despite protests by Extinction Rebellion and the Green Party.

Improvements to the A1237 York Outer Ring Road, including the dualling of the existing carriageway between the A19 Roundabout up to and including Little Hopgrove Roundabout, were approved by a City of York Council planning committee on Tuesday, March 19.

Other improvements include the provision of a 5.1km shared-use cycle and pedestrian route, signalised crossing facilities for active travel users, two overbridges and six underpasses for pedestrians and cyclists.

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Activists from the environmental activism group Extinction Rebellion and York Green Party raised concerns over the plans, claiming it would increase traffic congestion and increase pollution.

York Outer Ring Road plansYork Outer Ring Road plans
York Outer Ring Road plans

However, supporters of the application said the plans will divert traffic away from the city centre and improve air quality in heavily populated areas.

Luke Charters, the Labour Party’s candidate for York Outer at the next general election, said: “When travelling from one side of the city to the other, open Google Maps and it may send you through the city centre, rather than via the ring road.

“This in its most simple terms is the greatest benefit of the scheme - to get traffic out of the city centre.”

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Speaking before the meeting while the protest began, Andy D’Agorne, who leads the York Green Party, said: “The more road space you create, the traffic will increase, and in the space of a few years we will be back to where we were but [£65m] poorer.”

He added: “We can’t keep building our way out of congestion.”

Councillors speaking at the meeting, however, were quick to point out that Mr D’Agorne was the executive member for transport when these plans first went through the council under the Liberal Democrat and Green Party coalition.

Coun Pete Kilbane, Labour’s executive member for transport and the deputy leader, said: “The issue of whether or not we dual the ring road was actually decided at the local elections last May, where only parties who were committed to dualling were re-elected.”

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Richard Lane, a member of Extinction Rebellion, said: “This money needs to go on upgrading the transport infrastructure we have, making it easier to get around without cars, and building car-free areas in the city centre where it’s more pleasant to walk or cycle.”

Claire Davies, senior transport manager at the council, said the proposal would support the council in adopting its first local plan since 1954 by providing key infrastructure to support housing and employment goals.

She added that there would be “much-needed benefits to help people get out and live their lives” by “freeing up road space.”

Ms Davies also made the point that 79 per cent either supported or strongly supported the proposals when consulted.

Councillors voted through the recommended proposals unanimously.

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