Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

Road Wars - SQUALL'S road protest round up and down the country

A30 Honiton-Exeter - On The Back Burner

Squall 9, Jan/Feb 1995, pg. 17.

One of Dr. Mawhinney’s postponed routes is the A30 Honiton-Exeter ‘improvement’ which, like the Newbury by-pass, would form part of a euro-route, dubbed the ‘motorway by stealth’.

During the public inquiry, the road was presented as a local scheme, for local traffic. After the postponement was announced, it was immediately referred to as a private-funded DBFO road (design, build, finance and operate).

DBFOs operate with private consortia building and paying for the construction and maintenance of the road for a fixed period (up to 25 years). The consortia recoup their money in the form of "shadow tolls" - the DoT will pay them years after the roads have been completed according to the volume of traffic using the road. Thus the roads will get built now but the DoT, and hence the taxpayer, will be getting the bill years later. The consortia are generally alliances of the biggest construction firms with banks and consultants - a number of Conservative MPs and ex-ministers who have Directorships in these ad-hoc alliances.

The A30 Honiton - Exeter route, with virtually all it’s clearance work completed, was due to start construction on the main contract in about three months. There are currently two bender camps on the proposed route, which campaigners fear will be cleared in two to three months time, despite the DoT suspension of operations. Exactly what the future holds is unclear. There appears to be nothing to stop the Government shifting responsibility to the private sector and then claiming non-involvement when the work starts again.

Actions against the A30 continue and the main protesters’ camp is currently at Fairmile, near the Honiton end of the route.

Related Articles
Road Wars - SQUALL's road protest round up and down the country - other stories from this issue - No M77 battle hots up in Scotland - 'free state of Pollok' / Policy Shift or Shifty Policy? / The Third Battle of Newbury pitched against vested interests / No M65 Campaign - Up in the air and facing the flak.
For a menu of many other Squall articles about the Anti-Roads Movement, including protest camps, Reclaim The Streets and more click here