White Horse Alliance - A350 Westbury Bypass Campaign

Inquiry day: 6

Inquiry date: 25 June 2008

See notes part 1; part 2

Inquiry index

Notes, part 1

Original document(PDF): Day_6_Jones.pdf

Day 6

Alan Jones

Evidence in Chief

Dr Jones was asked to read Paragraphs 4.2, 4.3 and section 6 of his proof.

Dr Jones said that setts 6-10 were subsidiary setts, may well be the case that this sett has increased. The bypass would go between two social groups of badgers

Dr Jones was asked to read large sections of his rebuttal evidence, stating that:

Newtown Rd could not be found. 150M from bridge. Proposed bridleway would not affect sett.

Revisited Beres Mere sett, confirmed presence of sett. Much larger sett in past, many holes now used. Stable sett not found, no tracks seen.

PL has carried out no survey and presented evidence. Speculation based solely on estimates. Very different landscapes. No evidence that there are other setts.

Prior to construction, further surveys would be carried out. Any significant discoveries would result in consultation with Natural England.

WCC would accept change to bridleway route. Would negotiate realignment with the landowner, would not be a major change.

Strong association with hazel and dormice, though dormice not only found in areas of hazel. Non-hazel sites likely to be unstable.

Acknowledge that hazelnut survey carried out at the wrong time. Second survey failed to find any nuts touched by dormice.

No perfect survey tool for dormice. Use of nest tubes a good method for surveys, but not long term population management.

Reason to doubt validity of dormice report. Dormouse nest found in November 2004 in fresh green leaves.

No record of hazelnuts chewed by dormice. Dormice nest found in Jan 2007, confirmed by English Nature. Unclear why badger consultants searched for dormice in Jan, surveys normally end in Nov. Large discrepancy between location of nest and Nest Tube 90.

Continuing inconsistencies of dormice reports. The scheme includes mitigation measures on the assumption that dormice are in the area.

Further research indicates that tubes filled with leaves would enable dormice to cross above and underneath road.

Hedgerows strengthened by additional planting. Current hedgerow provides poor habitat.

Not every population of dormice nationally important.

Area barely sufficient to maintain population. No reason to assume that any current population has favourable conservation status.

Scheme would not have an adverse effect. Natural England satisfied that mitigation measures sufficient.

Cross Examination

It is the case that various surveys have found several Euro protected species?


Annex 4 protected?

-agreed, some annex 4

List annex 4 species

-Otter, dormice, great crested newt, various bat species.

Some bat species of bat are listed in Annex 2 as requiring additionally protection?


CD8.7A. Directive referred to is Directive 43, transposed into UK law by Conservation Regulations 1994, amended 2007. pg8,1.21 primary aim of directive, measures taken should be designed to maintain and restore favourable conservation status species.


pg10. Favourable conservation status. Para17, What is Natura 2000?

-Special areas of conservation

Favourable Conservation status when species maintaining itself in LT viable, not being reduced in near future, sufficient habitat in LT.


Proof 3.85. NO evidence that dormice pop currently favourable con status.


pg11. Parameters for defining FCS – when species doing well with good future prospects.

-no evidence that dormice meet FCS.

-given extensive survey, would expect to find dormice

Accept that there are dormice there?


Pg15. 1.2.3B. Para38. Art 6 concerned with SAC, Art12 individuals.

-Agreed, concerned with Art12

Annex 2 species have dual system of protection with a Natura 2000 site, SAC and SPA, plus individual species protection under Art12.


pg21. Summary of measures to be taken. Objective of directive to maintain FCS.


pg28. Summary of measures to ensure FCS. Maintaining or restoring FCS.


pg37. What is meant by disturbance. Art6 guidelines disturbance by noise can have indirect neg effect on species. Forcing them to use energy to flee. Intensity and repetition of disturbances.


Different species react to disturbances differently.


A species-by-species approach needed to determine meaning of disturbance.


pg50. Art16.- Derogation Article. Provided there is no alternative and maintenance of species at FCS in their natural range not threatened, states may derogate from articles.


Scheme not in the interested of conserving Fauna and Flora?


Therefore concerned with Criteria C, pg55


pg56, para24. Not every kind of public S-E interest sufficient. Careful balancing of interests needed. Assume that public interest overriding if LT.


pg58. Absence of satisfactory alternative. States must be certain that there is no alternative.


Reference made to ECJ case law on derogations, analysis of whether there is no alternative consists of: 1. What is problem. 2. Any other solutions? 3. Will these resolve the problem? Those three considerations must be taken into account?

-Agreed, seem reasonable

pg59. Most appropriate alternative conserves species and solves problem, e.g. Different route or method.


-Wouldn't look at alternatives in the same level of detail

Recourse to Art16 must be last resort.


Requirements must consider alternatives as a primary alternative. Alternative cannot be ruled out merely on basis of greater inconvenience or because they compel change in behaviour. What do you understand by this?

-Difficult to generalise

Scheme must be assessed within context of directive?


Accept that licenses will be required for dormice?

-Yes, and for newts



pg61. No appropriate assessment of impact of derogation at a local level, in terms of reg48 – habitats - has not occurred?

-No, no requirement.

Pg62, para49. Must ask: What is actual con status, at bio-geographic and local level? What is impact of derogation?


No derogation can be granted by the competent authority if has detrimental effect on conservation status.


Competent authority?

-Sec of State, power delegated to Natural England

pg65. Less favourable Con Status less likely derogation be justified, except in exceptional cases. Effect should be neutral, not detrimental.


Summary proof. PS2.2, referred to Parkman March 2000 - Both routes likely to have slight adverse effect. No further examination?


In terms of survey examination, what did Parkman have available to them?

-Was desk study at the time.

What is desk study?

-Enquiries to statutory bodies

Would these studies have found info on otters?


Record of dormice?






Same info available for FW route?

-Yes, similar information available for both routes.

Fair to describe as cursory appraisal?

-Brief appraisal

Has there been a similar exercise since Mar 2000 for both FW and E route?


No further detailed study after Mar 2000 for FW route

-Desk study in early 2007


-Not certain if in documents

PS2.3. E route most viable. In economic terms?


PS2.5. What was request on Reg19 for?

-Not aware

Further detailed ecological surveys requested. Carried out 2006. When was 2005 application withdrawn?

-Not sure, was withdrawn when realised that further mitigation required

Nor record in evidence for why 2005 application was withdrawn. Any information?

-not able to help

PS5.5. No direct effects. Have indirect effects been considered?

-Yes, on Pickett and Clanger Wood. No direct or indirect effects on Salisbury Plain SAC

Full Proof. P3.4. None of those specifies affected by non-road build option?

-Probably not

-Can think of no specific effect

P3.8. Slight adverse for all routes

Alternative alignment?

-Would be further to north

Current scheme closest to alternative or original?

-To original

P3.10. Slight adverse, subject to further detailed assessment No further assessment taken?


Changes that were required as a result of request for further information warranted withdrawal of 2005 application?


Between 2005 and 2007, was any further consideration given to FW route?

-Not to the best of knowledge

Notes, part 2

Original document(PDF): Day_6_Simkins.pdf

Day 6

Christopher Simkins

Mr Simkins was asked to read the summary of his proof.

Mr Simkins was asked to read his rebuttal evidence to Mr James.

Mr Simkins was asked to read his rebuttal evidence to Mr Davis.

Mr Simkins said that the proposed Rail Freight Terminal was still a current policy and was safeguarded in the local plan.

Cross Examination

It is a fact that WWDC have not appeared at this inquiry in support?


Have WWDC issued a statement in support of the scheme?

-No resolution in support, officer indicated support.

If they did support they would be hear to support the scheme?

-Not necessarily

PPS1, would you agree that this is one of the most recent govt statements?


Pg8, statement from PM Tony Blair, climate change represents catastrophic threat, greatest long term challenge, principle concern for sustainable development. Had not been stated previously?

-Not in those specific terms, though growing awareness of issue

Pg11, planning authorities should regard PPS policies as superseding development plans (RPG10).


-PPS does not have status above other consideration

May supersede policies?

-agreed that PPS a material consideration

Pg19, para39. Planning authorities should ensure developments consistent with PPS, if inconsistent consideration should be given to alternation or if not, refused.


Not amended in response to PPS


Para39, proposals that are inconsistent and not amended, consideration must be given to refusing

-Agreed, assuming they need to be amended

In providing infrastructure, authorities must provide highest energy efficiency, reducing emissions. Accept that key objective?

-agreed, overall thrust of advice related to spatial strategy

-cannot expect all proposals to meet

Must tick as many boxes


Sustainable rural development, encourage public transport, reduce need for car travel. Restatement of PPG13


Not around for as long as scheme


New development?


Para10, principle, designed to limit CO2 emissions

-Principally aimed at housing

Must be considered in these contexts?

-Must be material consideration

What sort of weight should Sec of State give to own guidance

-Give same weight as to any other PPS

-Supposed to be a supplement

3.6, RPG10, Sept 2001, some time ago?


Vision based on enhancing quality of life in SW, balancing environmental objectives with economic competitiveness. RPG10, pg14, table 1. aims and objectives. 3.7 WSB bypass will significantly improve environment and achieve economic objectives. If it doesn't signif improve environment, would fail to meet aims?

-No, vision carried into structure plan and local plan, WSB bypass emerged from this process

-WSB bypass will fulfil vision

If not then will be rejected?

-Can only be assessed when it is built

Purpose of inquiry to establish whether conflicts with policy

-Does not conflict with policy

RPG, policy SS3, para3.10, strengthen role of principle urban areas. Nearest principle urban area to WSB?


Is it the council's case that the scheme provides for Bristol or Bath

-No, point I make does not draw attention to that

Suggestion that there is significant commuting from WSB to Bath or Bristol

-Not area of policy

Bullet 7. Enhance environmental assets. Is a Special Landscape Area an important asset?

-Agreed, special landscape areas given additional weight, but not a great deal

Preferred route goes through SLA?


RPG10, pg84. Policy tran 1. Reducing need to travel. LA's should work to reduce the need to travel by car. Would you agree that Tran 1 is an overarching policy?


Table, pg95, 'Monitoring'. Tran 1, indicative target to reduce growth of traffic?


Should increase ridership on PT


Tran 2, regional transport network. Reduce congestion. Is an objective of this scheme to reduce congestion?

-Depends on how one looks congested

-WSB could be described as congested

As could anywhere?


Towards a Sustainable Transport System.

-Govt should not give undue weight to a discussion document

pg28. Para2.14. Action to reduce congestion depends on cause?


Scheme does involve increasing capacity?


Localised congestion. Is this the case in WSB?

-Don't know

Govt accepts logic that we cannot build our way out of congestion. New road building a last resort?

-agreed, but still element of policy

Would you agree that road building a last resort

-Yes, generally

Do you accept that the A350 corridor has points where congestion is worse than WSB?

-Cannot comment

Further material consideration

-Depending on meaning of congestion

Tran4, transport infrastructure investment priorities. Policy refers to sustainable transport systems in or around a PUA. WSB not in or around PUA?


If evidence has no proof of regeneration, and no proof that WSB in need of regeneration, scheme undermined?

-Test other way around, opposition must prove that there is no regeneration.

Policy Tran5, should be considered.

-Demand management must be emphasised.

-Still room for selective infrastructure improvements

Policy Tran10, not referred to.

-No attempt to pretend their not there

-Accept that encouragement of walking a key part of govt planning

Wiltshire and Swindon structure plan, 2006. E Bypass adopted as preferred route in 1998?


Given that scheme identified as preferred route ten years ago, would be surprising not to find it within adopted structure plan?

-Not sure

-Scheme tested in the context of a recently approved structure plan

Para3.21, policy DP3. Development should be focused on Swindon, and central area. What do you understand by the term 'central area'?

-The central of Swindon, not Wiltshire

Is it the council's case that the scheme does not encourage car-born commuting to PUA?

-attempted to reduce commuting by encouraging investment

Policy DP5. Main services should be concentrated on existing centres where there is most potential for non-car access


Very little progress being made on rail freight interchange in WSB?

-Rail freight difficult area, opportunity exists in local plan.

Eight years ago permission was granted, not lapsed?

-Will not give up on rail freight despite difficulties

Policy T3, public passenger transport. In planning terms, what does scheme contribute to Policy T3?

-Go back to T1, comprehensive transport plan, WCC adopted robust approach to area, other initiatives designed to meet terms T1 and T3.

What has been done in WSB since adoption of T4?

-Rail freight allocation, difficult to do much until traffic out of WSB.

No provision made for freight interchange?

-Don't know

T9. Freight transport. Land at South Marston should be safeguarded. No reference made to WSB. Why?

-South Marston proposal strategic, WSB is not.

WSB is not strategic?

-Does not warrant inclusion in structure plan.

Is the A350 part of national primary route network?


Therefore county policy to encourage HGVs on A350?

-only where a minimum of environmental damage will occur.

-natural that HGV are on nat pri routes

T12. Improvement to assist economic regeneration conditional on being environmentally acceptable

-Agreed, but document specifically mentions A350 bypass

Has to be environmentally acceptable

-Agreed, but implied in document that it is.

If evidence is that scheme is not environmentally acceptable, scheme is non compliant with T12?

-would be contrary to a lot of policies

-implication that it is capable of being environ acceptable

Govt Office stated that BBSCS identified the A350 as not being a regionally significant route, majority of journeys starting within SW region. A350 should be fit for purpose. Dec 2004 letter, specific reference to WSB bypass, noted that BBSCS recommended that scheme should proceed, recognise scheme is a priority. Ministers have decided does not represent sufficiently high priority. Reference to WSB bypass. To date there is still no funding approval?


Ministers decided in 2004 not a high priority. Scheme could have been approved for funding?


WCC included WSB bypass in structure plan of April 2006.

-Agreed, based on scheme being deferred by ministers.

-Legitimate to include road, if reasonable prospect of being built

Do environmental interests have equal status in structure?

-Points of structure plan not given varying emphasis, must balance points.

P3.33, RPG10, Table 6. RPG10 supports in general improvements somewhere on corridor?


This scheme fits description of improvement, in light of RPG10, could take place anywhere on corridor, by a variety of means?


WWDP. 3.35. 2001 structure plan did not include E Bypass?


Para 3.3.7, refers to Para3.4.3. States that bypass offers possibility of traffic relief and envir improvements. Does not provide stronger backing?

-Statements represents justification of bypass, represents an investment in area.

-As simple as investment increases investment.

Not more complicated?

-Difficult to measure scientifically

Proof 3.42. Issue of alternatives an important feature of inquiry?


Proof 3.44. Level of detail of alternative not as detailed as with application itself. Web Tag requires need to appraise alternatives at an equivalent level of detail. Where is test of alternatives derived from?

-From own experience

Not based on statute or regulation or case law?


Proof 3.46. Safeguarding E route conditional on funding. Safeguarding not the same as proposed


Final decision on alignment not taken by district plan?


Would agree that there shouldn't be anything in structure plan unless there is a realistic prospect of it being implemented during plan period?

-Implication would be yes

Draft regional spatial strategy. Proof 4.7 and 4.14, refers to SR23. Pg75 panel report. Recommends deletion of policy SR23.


RFA table 2A. Has not moved up table?

-Believe that has moved up table subsequently

Proof 4.17. Pg197-8 RSS. Regional corridors identified. In order of importance?


Equal weight should be given to all strategic corridors?

-Not distinguished in panel report. Construct policy approaches to each corridor.

Proof 4.20. What element of demand management is there in the scheme?

-Presented in context of sustainable strategy.

Is there an element of road management

-Not in terms of something like road pricing.

C62 Policy Tran 7, strategic corridor management. Reference in proof to Tran 7E, which refers to BBSC strategic corridor. Why is there no reference to natural environment?

-Should refer to both built and natural environment.

Panel recommends a review of stronger traffic management measures at Bath. Review has not been undertaken?


No indication of when review might be undertaken?

-No, traffic management in Bath would divert more traffic to WSB

Preamble. No specific reference to new road building?

-Reference to built schemes

-Road schemes not precluded

-If panel wanted to preclude road improvement they would have said so.

Panel identified specific measures on Exeter-London corridor, but not BBSC corridor?


Proof 4.36. Road scheme intends to reduce disruption to landscape to an acceptable level. Is moderate adverse impact on SLA acceptable or an enhancement?

-Does not sound like enhancement

How does E bypass scheme improve access to WWTE by walking, cycling and public transport?

-Benefits of bypass occur more in town centre

Access to main employment area, WWTE?

-Scheme may encourage people to access town centre through non-road means due to safety issue.

How does E bypass encourage non car use

-people will commute out less, do less car miles.

-basic land use principle

How does improving car access encourage non-car use?

-Investment creates more investment

How does bypass encourage non-car use?

-Admittedly not a strong point in relation to town centre.

What do you mean by 'rural area' in this context?

-WSB is located in rural area

60% of WSB traffic is through traffic. Remaining 40% mostly derived from within WSB. Remainder be attributed to traffic arriving from rural areas. However no evidence.


What will WCC demand in order to drop its objection to other proposals?

-Not aware

-WCC regard WSB bypass as main priority

Evidence that need for WSB has not diminished?

-Common sense

An opinion not derived from evidence?

-Logical view

Policy C3, specifically permissive of development of SLA that is essential to well-being of rural community. Is development essential?

-Part of C3 directed towards very rural locations.

-Socio-economic considerations balance against environ concerns.

Irrespective of view of intention of C3, policy is permissive of development in SLAs that is essential to socio-economic well-being of rural areas.

-Not claiming that it is essential to rural community

-Point is to consider whether it is detrimental to quality of landscape

Public consultation. Do you accept that a majority of those are opposed to particular scheme?

-In terms of numbers, yes

What effect will position of WCC – there is no alternative to E route – have on public responses?

-Preferred route of bypass is perceived by the public then there will be a lot of objection. Communities tend to react this way to major schemes.

People of WSB not offered any alternative?

-WCC promoting E route – if promoting W route there would be a lot of objections

-Bypasses split communities

Bypass proposal has split community?

-Degree of consensus that a bypass of some kind is a good thing

-Question of which side of town will always split community

Yarnbrook/WA been dropped, but WCC assure that it is a high priority. Where is Yarnbrook in RFA tables?

-Not included


Proof 4.62. WCC are custodians of C3, fully support scheme. Road schemes may need to be accomodated in SLA's.

Mr Simkins was referred to Appendix B of his proof. WSB TC shrunk, shops converted to residential use. Bypass provides for regeneration of TC. WWDC fully supports bypass as part of the regeneration of WSB.

PPS1 is not a sea-change in policy approach, instead re-emphasises an issue which planners were already well aware of.

Climate change has been on the planning agenda since the 1990s

PPS1 seeks to balance the factors set out in 4.25, not giving preference to any single factor.

RPB in agreement that the scheme conforms with the RPG and RSS.

Increase in journey times of 55% in WSB since 1981, highest growth in WW.

Prospect of funding a near certainty, past events have no relevance.

Panel report, para5.44. Exeter-Dorchester and Exeter-Barnstable of less importance, others on list not distinguished.

No likely scenario on A36 that would result in a reduction in traffic on A350.

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