Bristol doesn’t need another M32, say transport campaigners

Ahead of West of England Partnership discussions on widening the A38, campaigners in Bristol have appealed to local decision makers to avoid the creation of “another M32” into the south of the city.

Members of Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR) and Transport for Greater Bristol (TfGB) say that building additional lanes on the road would merely lead to greater congestion and further impede already inadequate transport routes to Bristol Airport.

Martin Garrett, chair of TfGB, said: “The last thing Bristol needs is another busy road creating greater congestion and pollution in the south of the city.

“The M32 is a case-study in poor transport planning that has caused untold damage on communities in the north of Bristol and has contributed significantly to the extensive traffic problems that paralyse our city.

“At some point we have to draw a line under the self-destructive tendencies that have dominated transport planning in Bristol for decades and create a network based on meaningful public transport systems, and we can start with genuinely improving routes to the airport.”

The WEP Joint Transport Board is due to meet on Friday and will discuss development in the city and the surrounding area, and campaigners are concerned that the emphasis on schemes being put forward for the next round of Regional Growth Fund is on the A38 road widening scheme to the Airport and completion of the Southern Ring Road to Hicks Gate at Keynsham.

Christina Biggs, Secretary of FOSBR, said: “Decent public transport networks could be created quickly and cost-effectively by using current freight-only lines such as the Henbury Loop and enhancing the existing network.

“But instead we sometimes seem to be going backwards, with Network Rail applying to close the down platform at Pilning and no funding being allocated for the crucial development of Bristol East Rail Junction.

“We can only hope that devolved decision making and more joined up thinking by a combined transport authority will help us overcome this counterproductive focus on road building and begin the process of catching up with other major cities.”