Inquiry date: 24 June 2008
See notes part 1; part 2; part 3
Original document(PDF): Day_5_Boyle.pdf
Day 5, Tuesday 24 June 2008
Issues of alternatives arise from Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations – assumption that inform assessment
Conservation reg 1994, test of no satisfactory alternative
Non-bypass options – reports show that improvements to public transport would not address objectives of improving A350
Halpro report – conclusion that E Bypass most worthy – 1990
-agreed, remains the same
Not found Halpro Report in evidence
Consideration given to non-bypass options – which were considered?
-report a study of A350, dealing of whole corridor, not just Westbury
-EB most worthy of progressing
-Report detailed 4 proposed bypasses
State that non-bypass options considered – what were non-bypass options in 1990?
-Produced during roads to prosperity
-71.7 – 'other things' should be looked at before bypass
Report detailed how traffic could be diverted from Westbury town centre
-other options not in 1990 report – different context, 'predict and provide'
BB2SC – where in this study looks at non-bypass options?
-6.3 – not withstanding improvements, focus on road transport
What was remit of BB2SC?
-overall remit looking at ways of moving people and goods from BB to SC
-specific look at Westbury – main bottleneck
Where is a specific examination of non-bypass options in BB2SC
-Non-bypass options not looked at in specifically in report
Inspector asked which 6.3 being referred to
-Final strategic corridor report, BB2SC
-CD4.1, p.19 – study finding confirms most journeys taken by road in foreseeable future
4.21-2 – p.15: specific reference to Westbury – para4.21 states that the study was required to identify strategic need for bypass, although the responses to consultations opposed particular alignments
Westbury Planning conference 1998: various studies found that non-road options would not address objectives – did conference/ public consultation have the benefit of any detailed non-road alternative?
-best of knowledge there is no worked up alternative to bypass – no-one identified suitable alternative
-DfT emphasised need for non-road – after considering, the conference decided road preferable
In the light of developing govt policy – road building last resort – would it not have been reasonable and responsible of the County to provide a worked up non-road option?
-no alternative provided that meets objectives
Who should provide non-road option?
-County should begin by looking at non-road – done that, and ruled out
Despite 20 years of development of policy, preference of council remains the same as in 1990?
State that majority felt that WSB needed bypass – however participants did not have non-road option
-90% in favour of bypass – no other scheme would achieve objectives
BB2SC stated that the majority of journeys undertaken by road. WWSTS – predicted traffic growth 1997-2001 by 2.9%
Actual figure 1996-2006, growth less than 2%
How has actual growth compared to predicted growth affected proposal?
-ability of public transport to reduce growth limited
-increase of capacity does not necessarily mean more demand – surplus freight capacity
2.8 – concluded that package of measures, including pedestrian and public transport options required. What has been implemented in Westbury in terms of soft measures?
-Only real time info for buses
-Not aware of any measures between M4 and SC
Where do we see in the evidence how WCC has tried to do something and failed?
-WCC understands implications of below 20mph in WSB – road calming may help pedestrians, but would increase CO2 emissions, noise
traffic below 20, a good thing for safety?
-agreed, but not as good as taking traffic away
Where are feasible studies that prove traffic calming would not reduce traffic flows?
-WCC could not test anything else
-no real alternative, apart from through Bath, WHS
-not aware of any traffic models
Statement in 2.10 an assertion, not backed up
-if there was an alternative, it would be before the enquiry
Economic development and environment comm report, 6 May 1998, Appendix B Mr Kanserai : para12 – route selection not straight forward – far western route, alternative A1 and Z have most support – recommendation that further report be completed into FW and E route?
1998 route assessment table – appendix 5 to report of 2 Sept 1998, p.5 para30: recommended that E route be adopted
Cost benefit – good benefits for both E and FW: only 0.6 m difference between 2 schemes?
Engineering – 5% gradient in E – makes climbing lane necc, not required in FW
Ecology and nature conservation – both affect hedgerows etc, landscaping required: no info available for ecological interest on E route, e.g. Need for bat gantry
-no specific eco surveys at the time
E route runs through 3 km of special landscape area, compared to 200m for FW
Little to choose between schemes?
-25% greater costs and 25% length to route to FW
Cost based decision to choose E route?
-looking at figures agreed, unaware of decision making in 98
Sept 1999 report: recommended that review of route options of W route be carried out. Parkman report Oct 1999 Appendix C: pg2 1.2 existing traffic in WSB poor, do not justify bypass. Economic regeneration increases justification for Bypass. Pg24, traffic not particularly high. 10.4 if WSB considered on its own, not justification for bypass. Govt policy moved on even further
-agreed, environmental impact also increased in govt policy
When WSB considered as part of the wider regional need, stronger case. 10.10 – need for bypass marginal, except in context of regional economy
n10.11 FW route needs further development. Agree with recommendation at time?
n11.15 – appraisal needed fro FW route
Parkman stated that more work need, Narta appraisal need?
Narta carried out on FW route?
Has recommendation that public consultation be carried out for FW?
-however further development of FW route has taken place, costs of improvements ruled out on economic grounds – sufficient by itself to rule out
When was this decision made to rule out FW route on economic grounds?
-still considered up till 2007 – report considered cost and traffic
-FW route does less for WSB, increases traffic on trunk road
Parkman March 2000, Appraisal at end of report of both E and W bypass options. Noise, air quality, heritage not assessed at that time. No figures for E bypass cost-benefit analysis. At time there was approximately £1m difference between bypasses. Report states that both routes would achieve similar objects. E would improve WSB, W would improve A361
-E route a WSB bypass, W route has less local improvements
Environmental impact similar
Parkman, June 2001: pg15-16: landscapes of local and regional importance, national importance of Westbury White House vantage point
Pg28, traffic and economics: E bypass most effective at traffic relief in WSB, FW bypass attracts proportion of N and E traffic, reduces traffic in Southwick, increases in Barkley 136%, extension to West Ashton would reduce traffic by 13,000 a day. Is extension to West Ashton part of proposal?
-No, but is next priority of WCC
E Bypass does not introduce new road to area of unspoiled area of open countryside?
-Matter of landscape, not engineering
Agree with statement that E Bypass does not introduce new road to area of unspoiled area?
-Difference that countryside to E contained by scarp
Yes or No?
-Not open countryside to the E
Funding opportunity: in order for govt funding, fuller appraisal needed?
Need to resolve route selection, if intending to seek funding. Delay of submitting bid entails danger of funds allocated elsewhere. Suggests that funding sought because deadline was approaching?
-Not specific deadline
Referred to pg8, 10 July 2001. iii) scheme bid submitted by 31 July.
Committee took view that they had 3 weeks to submit bid?
Do you know whether bid was submitted?
-Not aware of bid, funding has been considered since that date
Funding not forthcoming as a result of that bid?
-Wouldn't expect funding to be confirmed at this stage.
Kanserai, Appendix C, 19 Dec 2003. Govt office to WCC. Pg3 'New Major Schemes', states that scheme first submitted in July 2001. Clear that bid was made on basis of July 10.
Bid deferred to BB2SC for further consideration. No decisions could be taken until this scheme reported in 2004.
Letter from Govt Office to WCC, 2 Dec 2004, LTP settlement 2004. contains results of 05/06 local transport settlement in detail. Pg2 progress towards objectives – only half on track to be achieved. Pg3. WSB bypass. Scheme submitted July 2001, deferred to BB2SC. Noted that report recommended that scheme proceed, recognise that scheme priority, recognising benefits, ministers decide that not high priority for approval at this stage. IS it the County's case that since Dec 04, that this scheme should have taken a greater priority?
-It is now a higher priority.
-Other improvements have taken place on A350, this scheme now moved up the rankings
Letter, DfT to SWRA, schemes which do not yet have approval – does that mean planning permission or govt approval
-not accepted into the programme
Remains the case?
Environment advisory panel, July 2003, pg2: A350 WSB bypass, para 8: confirmation of preferred route – design work on E, substantial environmental assessment, planning application intended in near future. IS this a reference to the 2005 planning application?
-As far as aware, yes
Para9, original bid 2001, bids also submitted for Yarnbrook and for WSB TC.
Improvements at Yarnbrook and WA dropped at this stage due to funding?
-At this stage, agreed
-Limited funding, likely that funding was a major reason
Current bid restricted to E bypass, £16m, TC £1.3?
At this stage, no worked up package for TC?
Proof- FW route, section 4: 4.2: middle of text, Black Dog Woods, site of conservation interest. SNCI does not have the status of SSI or SAC?
-No, knowledge exhausted
One effect of E Bypass is that if there were to be future Yarnbrook/ WA, would unavoidably impact SSSIs at Picket and Claret Wood
-that would seem to be the case
Advantage of FW route is that it would not impact SSI at Picket and Clanger Wood
-Agreed, but nor does E as things stand
-FW route would terminate at B1097
When consideration was being given to alternatives, these schemes given serious consideration
Would not impact Picket and Clanger Wood
-Suspect that they would not
n4.3, referring to Parkman Report: found that W Bypass would impact on a tranquil area, noise, longer journey than existing route
For some length FW route runs alongside railway
No railway in Wellhead Valley
Has there been a re-appraisal of impact of FW route on A36?
-Yes, Jan 2007
FW route would require dualing of single carriageway between Warminster and Beckington. When was this concluded?
-Included in 2000 report
Has any subsequent reappraisal been done?
-Yes, Jan 2007
Jan 2007 figures include A36 improvements?
Original document(PDF): Day_5_Boyle.pdf
Do you consider govt policy on climate change to be important to considerations?
Where in your proof is climate change dealt with?
-Proof mainly deals with air quality, not with climate change.
-Not part of remit to specifically address climate change issues.
Do you accept that scheme will result in an increase in carbon emissions?
-Agreed, though some other emissions will decrease
Professor Whiteleg's proof, pg3, 1.1. Climate change near top of policy agenda. How does the scheme contribute to reducing carbon emissions by 60%?
-This scheme does not contribute to reducing carbon emissions.
Thames Gateway Bridge rejected due to effect on climate change. Inspector's report to the Sec of State. 9.380: Carbon dioxide reductions require behavioural change. TfL stated scheme would increase CO2 by 55,000 tonnes by 2015. Increase by just 0.4%. Inspector stated even small increase offers no contribution to govt target. Would you disagree with this statement?
-Any scheme produces positive and negative effects on emissions
-WSB would only increase emissions by 300 tonnes
WSB bypass would increase emissions by 8.9%
-Only small difference in absolute numbers
-Cannot base decision on only one factor
Is it impossible to develop a scheme that would reduce carbon emissions?
-No, but every scheme will have positive and negative effects
-This scheme will increase carbon emissions
Proof 1.9: Difficult to predict accurately effect on people exposed for transient periods in close proximity to emissions. Could be additional beneficial effects not quantified. By same logic could impact people in proximity the scheme.
-Difficult to quantify over short periods.
Could be disbenefits that have not been quantified?
-Agreed, but need to account whether people near scheme would be in the same proximity and numbers
Evidence does not show that air quality is getting worse?
-Agreed, but also that quality not getting any better
LTP2, Ch15, graph. Agreed with Mr Canasary that air quality between 2004-05 apparently improving compared to targets
-Only reduction over a short period.
Canasary, appendix C, LTP settlement letter 2003, Govt Office SW to WCC. Thought should be given on how to manage air in WSB if bypass not constructed. What measures have been considered and implemented in the absence of the bypass?
-Large part of emissions in WSB comes from HGVs
-Air quality action plan - generic measures for BOA and WSB proposed:
-Monitoring and lobbying for improvement in infrastructure
-Promoting car sharing
-Car park charges
-Improving public transport
-Encouraging walking and cycling
Go through generic measures that are not bypass dependent.
-Implementing town centre schemes.
Has scheme been implemented?
-encouragement of car sharing
-not bypass dependent
Question of implementing schemes, then evaluating impact?
-asses impact in advance
How many properties does AQMA cover?
-Not large area, short stretch of Haynes Rd and Warminster Rd
How long stretch?
-Approximately 500 metres
-Few dozen properties in area
-Properties outside AQMA would also benefit from improvement
Are properties residential or commercial?
Any vacant properties?
(Agreed that there are 59 residents within AQMA)
Slight improvement to air quality?
-Prediction is lower than measure concentration
-Likely under-predicting benefits
-Likely benefit of medium magnitude
-10-11% reduction in concentrations
Would you describe the WSB AQMA as a localised hot spot?
-Could potentially describe whole of A350 in WSB as a hotspot
Proof 8.5: Strategy aiming for widespread improvements in air quality, consequently WSB proposal consistent with European strategy. How is localised hotspot defined?
-Compared to London conurbation, WSB would be localised and of no significance
-Local authorities have a responsibility to improve air quality in their area
No assessment of non-road build option?
Has there been there the same degree of analysis for the FW route?
-No, not to same extent
-Likely relatively similar impact
Parkman report, June 2001, appendix D: E route, 2200 properties experience better air quality, 159 experience worse quality. FW route: 3306 have better air quality, similar number worse
No information available on effect of E route without Station Rd HGV Bay?
Original document(PDF): Day_5_Humpherson.pdf
Proof 2.1.1. How have figures of noise levels from the White Horse been arrived at?
-Take provided vehicle flows, take % of HGVs, take average speed, distance from observation point from road, ground type, type of road surface, angle of view, take relative heights of road surface, take any barriers into account > put into noise model
-Theoretical model, based on empirical data
Is it right that you have factored in any screening effect along the carriageway?
-Trees and vegetation do not generally provide mitigation
Mitigation planting will not have an effect in reducing noise?
-No physical effect
Would 2001 assessment be audible, and recognisable as traffic noise?
-Yes, if taken in isolation, though if other factors were involved may not be recognisable.
Have similar assessments been taken for Wessex ridgeway?
-No, 'resource intensive'
Noise levels for Wessex ridgeway will increase?
-Character of the area would increase
-Would be recognisable as traffic noise
Footpaths and other public rights of way would also experience increases in noise level, and perception that the noise was from traffic
Important that noise would increase in cemetery?
How have you attempted to mitigate noise in cemetery?
-Nothing specific for cemetery
Could proposed mitigation on road surface be carried out in town centre?
-However would not have an effect on noise, as only have effect above 45mph
Noise measurements mostly taken in residential areas, not in open areas?
Noise measurements taken in a period of 15 minutes?
Site 2 noise:
-Mostly from A350 rather than from town centre
Existing sound levels, first three locations have distant traffic noise, only occasionally at site 3. Traffic on existing A350 at site 4 and 5.
Data representative of rural environment
Wildly varying noise estimates between proof and other assessments WHA107: 198 less people annoyed by noise after 15 years. According to 2001 census, 4000 houses in WSB – do you argue that other than 300 houses, everyone in WSB will benefit
-Under study area, there were 6613 houses identified. 2 possible approaches - DMRB or TAG. DMRB environmental assessment, TAG environmental appraisal.
-Number cannot be compared
What is the reality in terms of people benefiting and disbenefitting?
-Noise model has identified every household, and calculated their noise levels under do minimum and do something
-Every property experiencing a change of more than 1DB recorded
-Speculate that 2001 assessment using different significance levels.
Explanation of 115 compared to 4,500 properties?
-Possibly different assessment area
Measure should be of significance, not based on arbitrary figure like 1DB. How will 1DB improve people's lives?
-Some residents will perceive significant change in character of town centre
People adaptable to background noise?
WHO assessment of 50DB is moderate annoyance, e.g. Tumble dryer
-Not noticeable in busy urban area
E WSB urban edge, not busy urban area.
Definition of moderate and minor adverse effects?
-Contained in appendices
-Commonly accepted semantic scale
Minor – 3-4.9DB
Noise clearly perceptible at county wildlife site?
Assessments of noise without scheme?
-Do minimum is do nothing
No comparable study for FW route