SIR – Recent stories about early approval for an £8m A326 revamp may sound like good news for the Waterside communities but let’s look a little deeper.

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As the (limited) evidence to the New Forest district Local Plan examination showed last July, all this will deliver will be some rounding off of the curves at roundabouts along this road, plus some walking routes and cycleways in the vicinity.

Yes, there will be some increased capacity at these junctions, but residents should not expect they will suddenly enter a world of no delays, absence of accidents and an altogether easier drive to and from Southampton and the M27.

The lessons of traffic engineering are that “improving” roads increases speed and capacity and therefore makes them more attractive to more vehicle drivers, thus adding to existing traffic.

Road building and “improvement” do not solve congestion but instead add traffic, increasing emissions, further polluting the air, and creating congestion at the next bottleneck, wherever that may be.

At the examination in public we were “promised” a truly sustainable transport model by Fawley Waterside, reopening the railway to Fawley and improving the Hythe Ferry so that people could leave their cars at home and travel to work by train, bus and ferry.

Where those plans now and where are is the money for these truly sustainable modes of transport from Fawley Waterside, the Solent LEP and the Government?

Parliament declared a climate emergency in May 2019 and the government’s declared aim is zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Governor of the Bank of England, the chairman of the Environment Agency and Natural England have all warned we are not doing enough, quickly enough, to avoid climate catastrophe.

So perhaps county councillor Humby, district councillor Rickman and Mr Drummond can explain to us how £8mn on road “improvements” is going to help achieve that target, and why New Forest District Council has not joined the majority of other local authorities in making similar climate emergency declarations and, more importantly, acting by spending scarce resources on genuinely sustainable solutions to the problems faced by the Waterside communities?

Richard Tamplin and Colin Thompson, Address supplied

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