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Campaign group’s pollution concerns over multi-million pound A46 improvements

Plans to dual some remaining single carriage parts of the A46 in Nottinghamshire are being opposed by a campaign group concerned it could increase air pollution in a village.

National Highways put forward two options for the bypass improvements which aim to reduce congestion, make the route safer and better protect cyclists and pedestrians.

The Government-funded plans would see the widening of the A46 to a dual carriageway to provide two lanes in each direction between the Farndon and Winthorpe junctions.

Newark

Both of the options included a new bridge over the A1, a fly-over at Newark’s cattle market junction and traffic lights to Farndon junction.

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But residents in Winthorpe have set up a campaign group called ‘Think Again’ and have put forward an ‘option three’.

The preferred route – option two modified – was announced last month and incorporates suggestions from the local communities.

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A key change is taking the route further away from the village of Winthorpe – but residents still have concerns about the “detrimental” impacts the scheme could have.

Sarah-Jane Page, chair of the Think Again campaign, said: “We’ve got the whole village behind us, there’s a huge amount of support for our option.

“The aim was to push the road as far from Winthorpe as possible whilst maintaining engineering integrity.

“Winthorpe is already impacted by existing roads because we have the A1 and the A46.

“There was lots of concern because we are already experiencing noise pollution. Air pollution is a hidden one, what will the impact be on people’s health?

“We’re not anti-roads improvement because we use them as well but it doesn’t seem like a holistic approach.

“If the scheme can’t be funded with proper mitigation it shouldn’t be done at all.”

Newark and Sherwood District Council said the scheme will fill in the dual carriageway gap on the “crucial A46 trade corridor” which spans over 150 miles.

Newark and Sherwood District councillors discussed the project during its Economic Development Committee on 23 March.

Councillor Roger Blaney (Con) said during the meeting: “I very much welcome the announcement of the preferred route.

“I am very grateful to National Highways for listening and modifying their proposals.

“I know they’ve paid tribute to the Think Again group at Winthorpe.

“They are still pushing for further improvements and for details on the mitigation measures that will be put in place, and I think its right that we support them in that.

“I think it’s crucial that we don’t do anything that increases the cost meaningfully above where it is currently.”

Councillor Paul Peacock (Lab) said: “The concerns around this is where we’re going in terms of car usage which brings us difficulties around the environment.

“At this moment in time, it’s an essential scheme. We do need to work with National Highways but there is a serious question about how cyclists and pedestrians are catered for within this.

“We need as a council to try to push the agenda of improving cycle safety and pedestrian footpaths.”

Councillor Keith Girling (Con) added: “The scheme is fit for purpose now and future-proofed to a certain degree.

“Lots is going to be changing over the coming decades in terms of how people work.”

National Highways Senior Project Manager, Michael Hillier, said congestion will “only get worse” unless the route is modified.

He said: “This much-needed upgrade will bring safer and more reliable journeys both for the local communities enduring the current congestion and delays as well as drivers using this key trade corridor.

“We want to make sure that, as far as possible, the improvements to the A46 work for the community as a whole. We are determined to ensure that the views of road users and communities are fully considered throughout the design and delivery of this scheme.”

Construction for the project would be set to start in 2025.

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