John Knight's July 2020 Talking Politics column for Macclesfield Express

13 July 2020

In last week’s Express, we read about Cheshire East Council granting themselves planning permission to go ahead with storage works for the Poynton Relief Road.  While permission had previously been denied for a similar development unsuitable for the area, it seems that the Labour-led council are happy to follow in the footsteps of their Conservative predecessors in the rush to tarmac over Cheshire’s Green Belt for the sake of promoting and increasing car- and aeroplane use. 

This road is presented as a means of relieving traffic congestion in Poynton.  However, planners have known for decades that this simply doesn’t work.  While traffic on the original road returns to the previous levels after a few years, the bypass generates extra road traffic, as people are encouraged to make extra car journeys. 

As the Campaign for Better Transport has shown, bypasses just shift the problem a few miles down the road.  This is vividly demonstrated by the A555 Airport Link Road; far from alleviating traffic, it just feeds even more cars up the A6 through High Lane and Disley, where traffic volumes and the resulting air pollution were already at critical levels. The A555 has also increased journey-times between Poynton and Hazel Grove, with the new complex junction leading to extra congestion.  The proposed Poynton bypass will inevitably cause congestion where it meets the existing A523 in Adlington.  Extra traffic generated will also further clog up  congested roads in Macclesfield itself. 

Rather than endlessly repeating the mistakes of the past, we must look to the present and the future.  We need to reduce car-use, not increase it, for the sake of both public health - road safety and air pollution - and combatting climate change.  Transport policy must look to promoting buses and trains (post-COVID) and getting freight back on the roads and waterways.

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