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Norwich City Council votes against Western Link plan

6:12 PM January 12, 2022

Councilors voted to reject Norwich Western Link’s plans.

Norwich City Council Cabinet members debated whether they should approve the Transport Strategy for Norwich (TNS) – a County Council blueprint for the city’s future, which includes the Norwich Western Link (NWL ).

The £ 198million road would connect the Northern Distributor Road with the A47 west of Norwich.

Mike Stonard, cabinet member for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth, said the road fails for several reasons to gain their support.

Mike Stonard, Member of Norwich City Council Sustainability Cabinet.
– Credit: Steve Adams

These include concerns that it will not do enough to improve air quality and decongestion in the city; fears that the regime’s environmental impacts cannot be mitigated; and that there is not enough investment in public transport, cycling and walking in line with funding from the NWL.

Mr Stonard also condemned the TNS saying there were “serious loopholes” with some reasonable requests being ignored.

He said: “There was no acceptance that the road network should prioritize the modes that consume the least energy and promote the healthiest activity.

“No recognition that road construction and expansion is fueling traffic growth and carbon-based development models.

“If you’re going to build the Western Link, which is going to fuel the growth in traffic, are you going to do anything to create more sustainable modes of transportation elsewhere and the county council’s response is an emphatic ‘no’.”

Proposed route of the Norwich Western Link

Proposed route of the Norwich Western Link
– Credit: Norfolk County Council

He also criticized the county council for spending around five times as much on roads as on sustainable transport.

He added: “It must be the wrong policy at the wrong time.”

Lucy Galvin, leader of the Greens group at Town Hall, praised Mr.

The cabinet member said the administration would discuss next steps soon.

Mr Stonard and vice-chairman Gail Harris criticized the city’s lack of a voice in transportation policy.

Ms Harris said a move to remove city council’s power to look after its roads was a “backward step.”

The cabinet voted to recognize progress towards more sustainable transport in the city, but that the strategy was not ambitious enough and could not support the NWL linkage proposal.

The authority will pursue a “productive working relationship” with County Hall on strategy to increase ambitions in the future.