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Our Chair’s response to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s Local Transport Plan submitted 27 September 2019

1        The CPCA Local Transport Plan includes a proposal for a Third River Crossing between Huntingdon and St Ives. This idea was previously proposed partly in order to accommodate the planned residential development of the Wyton Airfield site.

2        Following very strong objections from many sources the proposal was dropped. The Great Ouse Valley Trust is dismayed to see that it is now included in the Combined Authority’s Local Transport Plan and is equally dismayed that a study is about to be commissioned on the feasibility of the crossing.

3        The landscape of the Great Ouse Valley between Huntingdon and St Ives is of national importance and is now being considered as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is loved by artists and is rich in biodiversity. It defines the area and gives the Great Ouse Valley towns and villages their identity.

4        Cambridgeshire has the smallest area of non arable landscape in any rural county in the United Kingdom. The county and the East of England cannot boast grand landscapes. The area in the Great Ouse Valley is small and fragile but also unique and precious. It compares very favourably with Dedham Vale and other special protected areas.

5        The impact assessment refers to a new network giving better access for tourism whilst ignoring the fact that a road would destroy the very thing that brings tourists to this area. The quality of the environment is of course a very significant factor in attracting businesses and a skilled workforce to the area. There is very strong business case for protecting this environment.

6        In the month that has seen the publication of the Glover Report on our fragile national landscapes and international demonstrations about climate change the need to protect these special areas is brought into focus.

7        The proposed plan ignores Government manifesto commitments to leave the natural environment in a better state than it was in when the Government took office. It ignores the Government Wildlife recovery plan and it ignores the Government 25 year environment plan.

8        As the towns and villages on either side of the valley expand and become more urbanised the need to protect this small, unique landscape for the mental and physical health of our community is even more pressing.

9        The value of the landscape to the future success of Cambridgeshire is too significant to be sacrificed for short term convenience. As the urbanisation of the towns on either side of the valley continues the protection of this special landscape is absolutely vital.

10      The starting point for the Local Transport Plan must be the nurture of the resources that already exist in Cambridgeshire and which make it an area that people want to live in and businesses invest in.

11      The Great Ouse Valley Trust believes that a new road across the unique and tranquil landscape of the area between Huntingdon and St Ives is not a legitimate option for the transport study.

Graham Campbell

Chairman
Great Ouse Valley Trust