The Budget 2020 (11 March) included an announcement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, that the Government has committed funds to the A417 ‘Missing Link’ road scheme. This is a positive step towards resolving the problems caused by the existing road. We will continue to work alongside our partner organisations to help Highways England develop a landscape-led scheme which properly considers the natural beauty of the Cotswolds landscape and brings positive outcomes for wildlife, heritage and visitors. Current understanding is that Highways England will submit a planning application (Development Consent Order) at the end of April 2020.
Crickley Hill and the A417 road improvement scheme
The traffic problems caused by the A417 as it passes Crickley Hill are well known and the road continues to blight the area, as it has for many years. There is no doubt that high congestion and collision levels need to be addressed and the problem of the ‘missing link’ finally solved.
Crickley Hill is set within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding National Beauty and, together with Barrow Wake, is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. It's nationally important, thanks to its Iron-Age hill fort (a Scheduled Ancient Monument), ‘time capsule’ archaeology, limestone grassland, ancient woodland and diverse wildlife.
For all these reasons, we welcome Highways England’s ambition to develop an effective ‘landscape led’ road scheme that reflects the sensitive environment of this special place.
Reconnecting the landscape
At present the road divides Crickley Hill from Barrow Wake, Kilkenny and other key wildlife sites along the Cotswold escarpment.
We believe Highways England’s proposal to improve this section of the road presents an opportunity to reconnect a disjointed landscape - improving habitats for nature and bringing benefits for people who wish to explore Crickley Hill and the wider landscape.
However, the preferred route announced by Highways England doesn’t yet provide enough protection for Crickley Hill and the surrounding countryside and we are concerned that it will inflict additional harm.
The National Trust shares joint ownership of the land at Crickley Hill with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. We work together as custodians of this delicate, much-loved and well-used site to ensure it is protected for the enjoyment and benefit of both current and future generations.
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has also voiced its concerns about the route option currently proposed. Both charities are committed to working with Highways England as it seeks a landscape-led solution that can protect the views and setting of Crickley Hill; reconnect the wider landscape; and bring benefits to the local community and road users.
11 Mar 20
Budget 2020 Annoucement
08 Nov 19
Our full response to Highways England's statutory public consultation
We have now submitted our full response to the statutory public consultation run by Highways England about the A417. We agree that something needs to be done to address traffic and safety issues but Crickley Hill sits within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is also a nationally important location, so it deserves a landscape-led solution. If you would like to read our full response, you can download it here:
27 Sep 19
Our initial response to the statutory consultation
A six week statutory consultation phase has been launched by Highways England. This is an opportunity for local people and any interested parties to have their say on the proposed upgrades to the A417. We accept the need for change but want to see a landscape-led solution that delivers genuine benefits for wildlife and people. You can read more here