Template letter regarding transport and the A38 road works

Dear _____,

I am writing to ask that you please pass on my message as a concerned Derby resident to the relevant people in Derby City Council regarding transport and the A38 road works.

The A38 road works are part of the Government’s £27.4 billion road building scheme named RIS2.  

There is evidence to show why road building will undermine the UK’s carbon reduction targets. 

There is a legal challenge against the Department for Transport for the national road building scheme which the A38 works are part of.

Derby City Council is promoting active travel with the Emergency Transport Fund and developing more sustainable transport options as part of the Transforming Cities Fund. 

The Council has declared a climate emergency and transport emissions are one of the biggest sources of CO2 in Derby. https://pcancities.org.uk/sites/default/files/Derby.pdf  

There are the links between air pollution, COVID-19 and other life threatening illnesses. To seriously tackle air pollution, we need to reduce the number of motorised vehicles of the roads (which the Emergency Transport and Transforming Cities fund will help with) and not just move the air pollution around by widening roads and accommodating more road vehicles. The Council should be aiming for extremely low air pollution levels – not just the legal limit. As the legal limit is still unsafe. 

Combustion engine vehicles will be phased out by 2035 (but as the climate crisis worsens and more urgent carbon reduction is needed, it is likely this will be brought forward) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40726868 

Even a very rapid switch to electric cars will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough. In addition, traffic levels need to be reduced by at least 20%. https://policy.friendsoftheearth.uk/insight/more-electric-cars   

This shows that the A38 works are an outdated scheme that fails to respond to the current need to cut carbon emissions and change transport infrastructure. 

  • It will lock us into further carbon emissions and worsen the climate crisis. 
  • It supports a type of vehicle which is going to be phased out in the next decade or so. We still need roads for electric vehicles but it is unlikely every combustion engine will be replaced by an EV.
  • Road traffic must be reduced and other transport policies are being implemented to assist with this. If road vehicle numbers are reduced, that will solve the congestion issue on the A38 junctions anyway.
  • It will increase air pollution during the 4 years of construction which is an unacceptable health risk. https://www.derby.gov.uk/media/derbycitycouncil/contentassets/documents/environmentalprotection/ED11928_Derby%202019%20AQAP_Draft_Issue%208%20Final.pdf
  • It will cause ecological destruction and harm local wildlife.
  • It will cause disruption and delays to Derby residents and business for 4 years during construction. 

The campaign to stop the A38 road works is continuing to gain more public support. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/object-to-the-a38-road-development-around-derby-1

I am asking that Derby City Council calls a public review into the support for the A38 works considering all the new evidence since the scheme was designed. The situation has changed and we are facing both a public health and climate crisis. RIS2 is already facing a legal challenge and it would be better if Derby City Council chose to oppose the A38 works rather than having it ruled illegal.

I urge Derby City Council to please take the following actions. 

  1. For Derby City Council to formally oppose the A38 works and ask Highways England and the Department for Transport to halt RIS2 due to the climate emergency.
  2. To grant Tree Protection orders to all the trees that are under threat from the A38 works
  3. To develop an air quality plan for Derby City with a priority on road vehicle reduction. 
  4. To develop and implement a net zero by 2025 road transport emission reduction plan for Derby. 
  5. To run a transport behaviour change campaign in Derby city that informs residents of the dangers of the climate emergency and air pollution and why urgent transport changes are needed. 

Please can you confirm that you have passed this message onto the relevant people in the council. 

Thank you for your time.

Extinction Rebellion Derby is a group of concerned, ordinary local people.