'Hypocrisy' over 'eyebrow-raising' claims amid Shrewsbury North West Relief Road row

Campaigners against the £87 million Shrewsbury North West Relief Road have accused Shropshire Council of hypocrisy over its environmental policy after a series of "eyebrow-raising" claims.

Better Shrewsbury Transport, a local alliance of organisations and individuals opposed to the road on environmental and cost grounds, says it has noted several glaring inconsistencies in the council’s recent public statements as it forges ahead with plans for the Shrewsbury bypass.

Dave Green, a spokesperson for the group said: "Shropshire Council is showing total hypocrisy by pretending to be ‘green’ while planning a road that will emit 70,000 tonnes of CO2 and devastate local wildlife habitats.

"The council’s chief executive Andy Begley recently announced its Tech Severn 2021 conference which, it says, will 'focus on how technology can help the world tackle the greatest challenge in human history – climate change'. How can they say this with a straight face when they are pushing through a plan for a road that will blast Shropshire’s commitment to net zero out of the water?"

Shropshire Council’s transport portfolio holder, Councillor Steve Davenport, recently told the Shropshire Star that sustainable travel is one of his main goals and that he has the same aims as local environmental groups.

But Mr Green argued: "For the last decade, Shropshire Council’s agenda has been to cut bus services and let cycle lanes fall apart across the county. It even mothballed its own sustainable transport team.

"Green groups want Shropshire’s carbon emissions slashed and transport solutions that will help us solve the climate emergency that the council itself declared in May 2019. Councillor Davenport, however, is committed to building a road that will create the same amount of CO2 as flying everyone in Shrewsbury to New York and back. Either he doesn’t understand basic climate science, or he is deliberately misrepresenting the situation."

A consultation on the bypass, which would stretch for four miles from the Churncote roundabout to Battlefield, ends this Friday after it was extended last week. More than 2,000 responses, mostly negative, have been officially uploaded, though campaigners believe there are many more to process.

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