Highways England recently announced its preferred route for a new dual carriageway along the A417 near Birdlip, writes Kevin Cranston.

The £435m project might shave five minutes off the average journey time for commuters.

This is an extremely high cost for a 'solution' we know will lead to more car journeys, more congestion on the roads and more pollution.

The technical appraisal report written by Highways England shows that air pollution and CO2 emissions will worsen with the increase in traffic on the A417 and on the streets of Stroud, Cheltenham, and Gloucester.

A recent study by the University Medical Centre of Mainz in Germany showed that air pollution caused more deaths than cigarette smoking.

Smoking is avoidable but air pollution is not.

Highways England admits that there will be an increase in carbon emissions from every option they have considered for this stretch of the A417: this comes at a time when we know we are headed down the road to climate catastrophe.

I wholeheartedly agree with Green County Councillor Rachel Smith who says: “Any politicians who recognise the Climate Emergency we face need to back words with actions; unless this project can be shown to have a proven impact on reducing carbon emissions, we must think again and find better, cheaper and more effective ways to improve safety and journey times.”

Now is the time for decisions that take us towards the goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.

Expanding vehicle capacity and building new roads is like saying we’ll quit smoking after just one more cigarette.

Kevin Cranston

Stroud Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Green Party