Fragile countryside near Huntingdon would be “destroyed” if an elevated third river crossing was built, a conservation group has claimed.
The Great Ouse Valley Trust said it was “extremely concerned” that mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer still had the proposed link on his agenda despite strong opposition.
It said reports, including the third crossing, between Godmanchester and Wyton, were still tabled and approved by a meeting of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) held electronically because of the coronavirus.
The trust said reports on the growth of Huntingdon and St Ives contained measures for improving the towns, but also a third river crossing through a “most beautiful” section of the Ouse Valley.
Graham Campbell, trust chairman, said: “The landscape of the Great Ouse valley between Huntingdon and St Ives is of great national significance and arguably Huntingdonshire’s greatest asset. As we deal with the coronavirus pandemic, the special value of this tranquil landscape for our physical and mental wellbeing comes into focus. Hopefully it will soon be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It cannot be sacrificed on a whim.
“Cambridgeshire is a county with less natural environment than any other rural county in the UK yet the countryside between Godmanchester and St Ives has rare meadows, and lakes rich in biodiversity.”
Mr Campbell said: “This fragile landscape would be destroyed by an elevated dual carriageway on enormous concrete supports raising it above the floodplain, bringing noise, pollution and ugliness to our most valuable asset. Yet this is what is proposed by James Palmer, the Mayor of the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority.”
Mr Campbell said the thinking behind a third river crossing was about the proposed redevelopment of RAF Wyton for housing and the need for a link to the A14 but there was now a growing awareness of the environment and the climate change emergency.
He said: “Even if a case for a third river crossing could be made, the value of this irreplaceable landscape would still override the argument. There is no economic argument that the road is needed in the national interest.”
Mr Campbell said assurances had been made in January that there had been no decision on he river crossing and that town and parish councils, the Wildlife Trust, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Great Ouse Valley Trust are all campaigning against the new road.
The Hunts Post has been unable to contact Mayor Palmer’s office.