Letter to the Highways Agency 7th March 2005.

Dear Mr Shuker


I am writing to object to the A120 Braintree to Marks Tey Improvement (I would also like to object to the use of the word ‘improvement.’ What authority does the Highways Agency have to use this leading word before the Public Consultation?) It seems to me from the leaflet sent to me from the Highways Agency and the exhibition held in Coggeshall that the H.A. is intent upon forcing through the Proposed Southern Route. I find this the worst of the proposals, the Coggeshall Bypass Route being the best of a bad bunch. A new road will result in our unspoilt country side being covered in yet more housing developments, adding to our problems and not solving them. The literature sent out by the Highways Agency is not a consultation – it is telling everyone what the H.A. is going to do, and the questionnaire is loaded. I would like to complain that the Highways Agency is acting undemocratically.

I believe there is a hidden agenda as this proposed route will be going through Rivenhall Airfield, which is where they intended to have a large gravel pit, with an added access road to the Proposed Southern Route. Once the gravel has been removed, it would not be hard to imagine it will make it easier to impose the shipping down of London's waste to incinerate and dump at Rivenhall. Along with the irreversible damage to our environment, with this road bull- dozing through farms, destroying wildlife, peaceful country lanes, in fact our way of live for ever, it looks like we will have to put up with fumes from the incineration of London's waste adding to the greenhouse gas emissions from the cars.

The A120 ‘improvement’ is linked to the growth of Stansted Airport. No doubt you are aware of the Stop Stansted Campaign slogan ‘Cheap Flights Cost The Earth.’ Indeed they do and Essex is being asked to pay a huge price so that people can drive to Stansted more quickly. Air transport, advantaged by the use of un-taxed fuel, must be reduced, not increased as currently planned, if this country is to achieve emission-control targets under the Kyoto treaty to reduce global warming. Limiting the growth of Stansted will correspond with the number of vehicles per day on the A120 being limited too. This curbing of air transport has to happen and the Highways Agency prediction as to the daily numbers of vehicles on the A120 would then be incorrect. Tackling global warming is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when,’ and it should be happening now. Putting in this road is short-sighted. Once it is built, however, there will be no going back!

£220 million pounds should not be spent on a new road when the congestion problem could be alleviated by a rail link to Stansted. Apparently, Dunmow Station was demolished and the site lost under the new alignment of the A120 (Dunmow bypass). How ironic! The extract from the website below articulates very well the consequences of the short-sited closure of the line.


Hello and welcome to ‘Branching Out’, a site covering the closed railway line that was The Bishop’s Stortford, Dunmow & Braintree Railway, and the Witham to Braintree branch line, still very much an operating part of the GER route from London to Ipswich. The Stortford to Braintree line created an 18 mile link across central Essex via Dunmow,

Although the line was closed to passenger traffic before Beeching’s report it would probably not have survived that period anyway as the majority of income seemed to come from freight traffic. Indeed the section from Witham to Braintree was among the many lines of this countries railways that were earmarked for closure, but an action committee warded of the spectre of closure and that line now thrives. Ironically, within 20 years of Beeching swinging his axe, scientists were first acknowledging the threat of global warming. The only feasible replacement for the loss of the railway was inevitably the road. The old line runs parallel to the A120, a road that gets congested easily simply by volume of traffic. With pressure on the environment, the state of Britain’s roads today and the cost of fuel, the dead branch line would have been a godsend to many.

The future of the Braintree to Bishop’s Stortford line.

As the death of the branch lingered for the last few years, there was some hope that maybe part of the line would stay open, or be restored, to provide a link to Stansted Airport about 4 miles away. When the last section of track was removed in 1974 it was literally the end of the road for whatever of the former railway remained.

However, as Stansted Airport expanded, the need for a link to the railway was inevitable. In 1991, this link was finally made to the airport, branching off from the London to Cambridge line just to the North of Stansted Mountfitchet station. It has been mooted several times, that what with concerns to the environment, and congestion on our roads, that this line should again link up with Braintree to create an East - West connection across Essex.

 Every year the idea for this scheme gets a mention in the local papers, and it has done so ever since the Stansted link opened, but, as you may expect, it is all still talk. It would make sense to restore the line, and ease traffic on the A120, of which a dual carriage way is soon to be built.

If the line was reopened, it would probably follow the old formation from Braintree to Dunmow, the largest town on the route, where a station would generate extra revenue. After that, it is proposed to divert from the old route to join the Airport link a few miles North of Stortford. The M11 has totally obliterated the old trackbed, and the Airport link already goes under that motorway.

I found a site on the net recently that supports the re-opening of the line, and it can be found at the following address: http://railwatch.org.uk/backtrack/rw76/reop.html

The proposals of the Highways Agency are as lacking in foresight as Dr Beeching’s Axe! The Proposed Southern Route will not solve any problems – it will create its own!

Yours sincerely,
Robert J. Lambert.
Coggeshall Resident