Road Link Across Wensum Valley would cause Irreversible Harm

15 January 2019

Green councillors want Norfolk County Council to abandon its outdated plans for a Norwich Western Link and they recommend that Norwich City Council’s cabinet does not support a new road at its meeting on Wednesday 16th January.  

Councillor Denise Carlo, Leader of the Green Group on Norwich City Council, said:

“The irreversible harm to the Wensum and Tud valleys (1), higher greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate breakdown and extra new traffic are a high price for people and the environment to pay. “

Green councillors are concerned that the county council has inflated the traffic case for a Western Link by including in the traffic model a new industrial park for up to 8,000 jobs and a settlement of 4,000 homes in open countryside which would generate substantial car and lorry traffic.  (2)

Denise Carlo added:

“I doubt whether the public is aware that the Council is proposing major traffic-generating development in open countryside to support a traffic case for a Western Link.   We are also concerned that road construction costs are under-estimated.    For example, Greens calculate the real cost of Option D, close to Ringland and priced at £161 million, could be up to £300 milliondue to its complex engineering.  (3)  

 “The extra £2 million that the County wants to spend on further road design work should be invested on working up a 'fit for the future' package of public transport, walking, cycling and travel planning measures which would benefit everyone.  (4) Thirty-seven per centof car journeys in the study area are under six miles and some drivers could switch if green travel modes were improved.” 


Further information from:

Councillor Denise Carlo 


  1. 1.    Most of the River Wensum, from its source to Hellesdon Mill, is designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).  The 2014 Scoping Study Report (Mott MacDonald) notes that the Wensum is the only river designated as a SAC in the East of England and that this would compare with a Grade 1 listed building of similar importance to Norwich Cathedral.  Protected creatures such as water voles and otters have been recorded along stretches of the Wensum and Tud valleys crossed by the four Western Link route options. 
  1. See the Norwich Western Link Technical Report, WSP for Norfolk County Council (Oct 2017).   Proposals for a new industrial park (3,000 – 5,000 jobs) and new settlement (4,000 homes) wereincluded in the 2017 WSP traffic forecast modelling ‘Do Minimum’ scenario for 2050.
  1. The Option D route close to Ringland (favoured by Broadland District Council) would involve

- a  high level viaduct across the Wensum valley 

      - Tud valley bridge crossing

      - junction with the proposed new offline A47 

      - junction with the existing A47 carriageway 

      - junction with the A1067 

      - junction with the NDR

      - dualling of A1067 linking WL/NDR junctions 

The Options Assessment Report by WSP (Oct 2018) indicates that the junctions would be grade separated:

A table on p122 shows the costs benefit ratios increasing from 'medium' to high when the junctions are built as grade separated in order to speed up journey times.  This also has the effect of increasing construction costs which are not fully reflected in the prices estimated.

The Western Link Options Assessment Report by WSP (Oct 2018) states that the costs are at 2017 prices and they do not include land purchase costs –see para 9.4.22.  

  1. A large package of sustainable transport measures should include a bus rapid transit system for Greater Norwich, promised in 2011 and consideration of a new park and ride site off the A1067 Fakenham Road with buses into the city centre and cross-valley buses to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and Norwich Research Park.

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