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Monday, 17 February, 2003, 13:24 GMT
Council rules out congestion charging
Traffic jam
Traffic congestion is a major problem in Barnstaple
A senior councillor has ruled out the possibility of congestion charging being introduced in a gridlocked Devon town.

The scheme has been introduced in London to ease traffic problems in the capital.

Councillors are considering a similar project in Barnstaple to ease the town's notorious traffic jams.

But Devon County Council deputy leader and Barnstaple North councillor Brian Greenslade said he did not believe congestion charging would work in the north Devon town.

Model of proposed new bridge
A 35m bridge and bypass scheme is planned
"Barnstaple is too small for congestion charging," he said.

"There are no plans by Devon County Council at the moment to introduce such a scheme there."

Councillor David Morrish, the council's portfolio holder for the environment, said congestion charging somewhere in Devon had not been ruled out completely.

"Clearly, the London experiment doesn't have much application to Devon.

"There has been an interesting experiment in Durham since last September or October.

'Limited success'

"That has had some limited success, but again it is in a very special location."

Mr Greenslade believes the way for Barnstaple to solve its traffic problems is the 35m Western Bypass and Downstream Bridge scheme.

The proposal was backed by former Transport Secretary Stephen Byers following a public inquiry in June 2001.

But a legal challenge has been made against the decision and the matter will be heard by a High Court judge in London on 25 and 26 of March.

'Encouraging traffic'

Mr Greenslade said: "The Western Bypass will sap 20,000 vehicle movements each day out of Barnstaple from people just wanting to travel through the town."

But the scheme, which will include a second bridge being built across the River Taw, is opposed by environmentalists.

David Taylor, of the Green Party, said: "A lot of people come to north Devon for the beauty and tranquillity.

"If we start encouraging more roads and more traffic, we will destroy exactly the reason why people come to this area in the first place."


Click here to go to Devon
See also:

17 Feb 03 | England
17 Feb 03 | Scotland
14 Feb 03 | England
14 Feb 03 | Technology
13 Feb 03 | Business
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