I follow your letters pages with increasing amusement as those who oppose the stance taken by Louise Goldsmith trot out myths as though they are facts.
They tell us that a northern bypass would adversely impact the environment, the economy and the character of the city. Where is their evidence for these assertions?
This time last year, when the consultation process was about to hit the road and with the halls all booked for public presentations, Highways England had in their hands their analysis of the aims of the bypass scheme and the ratio of benefits to cost from all seven options including the northern routes (Options 4 and 5).
This showed the following:
Aim 1 – Improve capacity and support regional economy – Best: Option 4; Second Best: Option 5
Aim 2 – Improve road safety – Best: Option 5; Second Best: Option 4
Aim 3 – Reduce environmental impact – Best: Option 5; Second Best: Option 4
Aim 4 – Improve journey time reliability – Best: Option 5; Second Best: Option 4
Aim 5 – Restrict delays during construction – Best: Option 5; Second Best: Option 4
Aim 6 – Improve regional connectivity – Best: Option 5; Second Best: Option 4
Aim 7 – Improve tourism access – Best: Option 5; Second Best: Option 4
The eagle-eyed among your readers will have noticed that none of the five options we were asked to select from scores well enough to appear in this analysis. Yet, the two assessed as the best were mysteriously removed from the consultation during the delay early in 2016.
It is essential that the process of selection is fair and that it is seen to be fair – and to date that has manifestly not been the case. Louise Goldsmith’s call for the process to be rerun provides a chance to redress this. We should grasp the opportunity with both hands, if this divided city is to be healed, and rerun the process complete with the northern options.