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Transport study threatens Wiltshire and Dorset with urbanisation, traffic and sprawl.

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This alliance of groups along the A350 and A36 represents a long-standing campaign dating back three decades. We are against major road building along these routes because of the environmental damage involved, the urbanisation that follows in the wake of such schemes, the noise, extra traffic and severance that new roads bring.


The current concern is a new 'strategic' route between the M4 motorway and the south coast port of Poole. This is now - in 2022 - being lobbied for by Wiltshire and Dorset Councils, even though local people are generally unaware of either the aspirations or the consequences.  The Study currently taking place, is looking at whether the A350/A36 should be made into a bigger, faster road to the port of Poole. It is on-going, and your input is needed. 

If a major new lorry route were chosen involving the A350 and A36, it would involve a series of expensive and environmentally damaging road schemes through precious countryside. With road 'improvements' would ome HGVs and other traffic, tin-shed land, sprawling housing estates, roundabouts and other ugly development.   The route is part of the general hot-housing of West and North Wilts, and also of Salisbury, towns in Dorset and the expansion of the port of Poole. See also A Bad Attack of A350-itis

Wrong kind of 'economic' growth in context of climate emergency 


Undeterred by decades of rejection of their plans for a fast expressway to the Channel ports from the M4, and much encouraged by the government’s £28bn roads budget, the road-builders are at it again. They are acting in the false belief that a new expressway  will lead to 'economic growth',  We believe that 'growth' needs to be much more carefully thought about and defined, in the context of the future health of the planet and its people. The model of growth for the future cannot be 'business as usual'. See the box on the right for the Western Gateway perspective.


Wrong approach for local places and local economies

The Alliance also think that major road building is the wrong approach to 'economic growth' and  for the local people in the area and their towns. New roads encourage more traffic and  cause environmental damage in terms of wildlife, countryside, noise and pollution. They lay the foundation for greenfield development across our fields and car-based sprawl, causing town centres to empty and lifestyles around driving. They lay the foundation for out-of-town warehousing and logistics centres, all about the needs of large global companies, not human-scale communities..

More about the Study and the need to respond


The M4 to Dorset Coast Connectivity Study , set by the Department for Transport and National Highways in January 2022,  is looking at opportunities for major road building for the government funding period 2020 - 2025 (RIS2). Highways England is the government company which plans, designs, builds, operates and maintains England’s motorways and major A-roads, known as the Strategic Road Network (SRN). 

The Study has resulted because local councillors selected from eight local authorities on the little known  Western Gateway  Subnational Transport Body  (STB) have decided that there  lack of suitable north-south road connections from the Dorset Coast to the M4, and onwards to Bristol and the Midlands. The local council representatives on the Board are listed here. Therefore, the Study is looking for a new long distance freight route between the M4 and the Dorset coast with the A350 and/ or the A36 being considered for the purpose. 

The Western Gateway STB Board is the decision-making body of the STB. It meets on a quarterly basis and its meetings are accessible to the public.



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What does it actually mean to say that the road will promote 'economic growth'?

The Western Gateway transport body putting forward the road cite three main types  economic impacts associated with strategic corridors:

    • Increased productivity due to better connectivity on each corridor

    • Increased GVA from employment at the new employment sites planned across the Western Gateway area, and

    • Land value gains from unlocked housing at new housing sites across the area.


Our question is: how does this help regenerate our local economies in our towns rather than move the emphasis to out-of town Greenfield sites? It looks as though it means more warehousing, out of town road-based business parks and car-based 'cowpat' housing estates.

From the study leaflet: Stakeholders we have spoken to consider that a lack of suitable north-south road connections from the Dorset Coast to the M4, and onwards to Bristol and the Midlands, is constraining growth across the region, and leading to problems with congestion and highway safety. As such, the Government included a commitment in its second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) to undertake a strategic study into road connectivity between the M4 corridor and the Dorset Coast, incorporating the major towns of Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole, Weymouth and Portland. We will now be undertaking this study, exploring the role of both the existing A46 / A36 SRN corridor as well as other road corridors, including the A34, A350, A338 and parts of the A37. "

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This data has been compiled from DfT traffic figures by Chris Tweedie. See conclusion under the table.

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