Over 1,300 members of the public have now signed a petition launched by campaign group Wye Ruin It? to cancel the proposed Western Bypass of Hereford.

Herefordshire Council is expected to scrap plans for the bypass imminently, with the focus set to switch to an Eastern Bridge over the River Wye in Hereford. The council, which has recently declared a climate emergency, is also look at greener modes of transport, such as electric buses and improvements to cycling infrastructure in Hereford and the wider area.

Wye Ruin It? say that the proposed Western Bypass would have a devastating impact on the countryside and wildlife.

“Stop Herefordshire Council Transport Package. It will increase air and water pollution in the Wye Valley and City traffic in Hereford.

“Plans were drawn up in 2010 for vast new housing estates, many of which will be on a floodplain west of the city, served by a new access road over the Special Area of Conservation, Wye Valley Gorge. These plans for development are unsustainable and will not provide enough affordable houses for 10 years.

“Cities designed only to accommodate cars are damaging our health and reducing life expectancy. The proposed access road to these vast new estates is promoted as a bypass but will only serve to increase congestion and pollution on prevailing winds through new estates.

“More than 80% of Hereford City traffic is local and set to double with urban expansion and Countywide developments. Through traffic is much lower at 20% but set to treble based on current development plans. Highways England wants to use the A49 for M5 Motorway relief and the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership wants increased commercial traffic on the A465 from the Welsh Ports via Hereford to the Midlands. Hereford City desperately needs a new plan.

“The River Wye is a National asset and of National importance to Families, Naturalists, Historians, Artists, Writers, Poets, Explorers, Communities, Anglers Canoeist, Cyclists, Walkers and Tourists to name a few.

We would like Herefordshire Council to recognise and promote the city for its treasured assets not destroy them for Midlands-Welsh commerce and future M5 motorway traffic relief.

“We demand a plan to provide immediate congestion relief with affordable public transport and a plan to address the affordable housing crisis today.

“Hereford City needs a fleet of electric and hybrid buses to tackle congestion serving schools and commuters from park and ride areas outside the city. Around 130 bus journeys into the City at rush hour could relieve traffic by 50% over-night at a fraction of the cost of the proposed access road (Council Bypass).

“This city needs a network of safe cycle paths and walkways to make healthy travel a preferred option for residents. It needs to embrace the future of electric transport and digital software driven mobility as a service. It needs shared transport providers of electric cars, cycles and electric scooters. Hereford needs modern infrastructure planning like cities such as Copenhagen¬†which are planning for the next twenty years of City needs.

“Stop the destructive developments of bigger roads and houses on floodplains. We demand a plan for sustainable non-polluting city transport first and housing developments focused to serve our immediate affordable housing needs.”