The Wildlife Trust welcomes this official recognition that the road proposal, which has been in the planning system since 2014, has now finally been abandoned. Martin Baker, Conservation Manager said: “Finally scrapping this environmentally damaging road scheme once and for all is great news for the historic flood meadow landscape of the Great Ouse Valley and our Godmanchester nature reserve. The nature reserve has provided a vital green lung for the people of Godmanchester in recent months and the reserve has been teeming with wildlife. With the closure of the old A14, Godmanchester nature reserve has also become a more tranquil place to visit where people can really appreciate nature at close quarters.”
Back in 2014 Cambridgeshire County Council proposed building a Huntingdon Eastern Bypass, the Hartford to Godmanchester Link Road, as part of their 2nd Local Transport Plan: the route would have dissected an ancient flood meadow landscape as well as the Trust's then recently acquired Godmanchester Nature Reserve. The Trust worked with local parish, town councils and other local societies to oppose and actively campaign against the new road: our award-winning “Road to Ruin” campaign, with strongly supported petition, helped persuade the County Council to change their minds and drop the new road from the Transport Plan.
However, in 2019 as part of the 3rd Local Transport Scheme, the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Mayor (now in charge of transport planning), sought to resurrect the scheme by making a commitment to undertake a feasibility study into the road, now rebranded the Huntingdon Third River Crossing. While not a commitment to build the road, it did raise the prospect of us having to resurrect our “Road to Ruin” campaign. The feasibility study did however also commit to look at the environmental impacts of the scheme and not just the economic financial value of the scheme.
Last week the Mayor announced that proposals for a Huntingdon Third River Crossing would now be permanently scrapped on both economic and environmental grounds: the Mayor quoted as saying with the building of the road “we would also fall foul of our commitment to enhancing and protecting our natural environment”.