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

Road Wars

Trans European Networks and The Derby ByPass

Squall 10, Summer 1995, pg. 19.

TENs (Trans European Networks) is the largest infrastructure plan in the history of Europe.

Hundreds of new motorways, airports, tunnels, bridges and high-speed trains are being proposed costing around £320 billion.

“The European Union needed a big idea and came up with TENs,” says Garet Harding, assistant to Labour MEP Anita Pollack. “It wanted to create wealth but forgot about the environment.”

Of the 220 projects that make up TENs, 126 of them are new roads. Together they would add 15,000 km of roads across Europe. The bias towards roads in the TENs plans was pushed through the European Union (EU) by the transport lobby of road constructors before the relatively more eco-friendly European Parliament gained power under the Maastricht Treaty.

The European Round Table of Industrialists, which set TENs in motion, is an influential lobby group of 45 top industrial leaders which has enjoyed intimate connections with successive EU presidents and commissioners. It founded the European Centre for Infrastructure Studies (ECIS) which published a report in 1984 called ‘Missing Links’ pinpointing the Channel Tunnel, among other projects as “necessary for economic growth and progress”.

Both ECIS and the European Commission have announced that the hurdles to TENs can be overcome by setting up special agencies for each project. This, they argue, could allow them to be pushed through without environmental impact assessments and public hearings ever being carried out.

If the TENs project were to go ahead, CO2 emissions in the EU would increase by approximately five percent over the next 15 years, say Greenpeace, which contradicts the EU commitment to stabilize CO2 emissions. This is aside from the increasingly dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, benzene and low-level ozone that vehicle exhaust emissions are responsible for.

Many local bypasses, particularly the A30/A303 corridor and South coast routes, are well-disguised British components of the Trans European Road Network (TERN). The DoT, in a covert manoeuvre, have a policy of refusing to discuss national and European implications for supposedly local road schemes. Thus, at public inquiries into road schemes, local residents are sold the idea of relieving local congestion and never get to hear that their bypass is really intended to carry juggernauts from Eastern Europe to Ireland.

One case in which the DoT have come close to admitting their real intentions is the A564 Derby Southern Bypass. The bypass, say the DoT in a press release, will “attract long distance traffic into the Derby-Stoke corridor”.

Contracted to Tarmac at a projected cost of £128 million, the 16-mile road is intended to link the A50, M1 and M6. The A564 is being built to assist access to a new Toyota car works, locals in the area should prepare themselves for the new cars to be exported, presumably by road, all over Europe.

“To help build more cars we need more roads,” say Earth First!: “the madness continues.”

There have been several actions at the bypass, all have been arrest-free and peaceful. Unfortunately for protesters, Tarmac ripped out all the trees, hedges and foliage along the route very early in the building process and there is no realistic area left to site a protest camp. Regular actions will, however, continue.

Contact Road Alert for details.

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For a menu of many other Squall articles about the Anti-Roads Movement, including protest camps, Reclaim The Streets and more click here