North Yorkshire County Council’s road-building plans were roundly rejected by the Harrogate Congestion Survey. This includes a specific question about whether a Killinghall Bypass should be built. 78% said ‘no’ and only 18% said ‘yes’.
The 15,500 respondents asked for sustainable measures instead.
Since the results of the Congestion Survey were published in August 2019, no progress has been made on active travel or other sustainable transport.
There was no real response to the Congestion Survey from North Yorkshire until the Harrogate Transport Improvement Programme was published and discussed by Councillors in January 2021. The HTIP reveals that North Yorkshire Highways are still pursuing part of the road-building plan that local people rejected.
They are talking about a Killinghall Bypass, which we believe to be, broadly, the purple route on North Yorkshire’s crude map.
North Yorkshire asked a question and got a very clear answer. It is unacceptable and irresponsible on their part to attempt to ignore the response and carry on regardless.
Induced Traffic and Worse Congestion
It would not provide a route to new destinations – it would simply be a new way of driving to places already served by the main road network. On the other hand, it would in effect double road capacity between Ripley and Harrogate – inducing more journeys and more traffic (at a time when we are supposed to be reducing vehicle trips).
Since other roads and junctions in Harrogate would not get increased capacity, congestion there would get worse.
If I’m correct about the route, we’d end up with a busy main road crossing the river Nidd and the Nidderdale Greenway between Killinghall and Ripley.
The Nidderdale Greenway is a big success, and a local asset. It’s an oasis of calm and tranquility, and it allows people to wander or pedal, away from the noise and pollution generated by vehicles. North Yorkshire County Council need to get the message (since they didn’t, apparently, from the Congestion Survey) that we’re not having it ruined by their road-building projects.
I sympathise with Killinghall residents about the fact that so much traffic passes through their village.
This project, though, would not replace the main road through Killinghall, to leave it as a quiet route for residents and visitors. It would provide a new main road in addition to the A61 through Killinghall.
If there were to be any traffic-reduction effect in Killinghall, it would likely last only a year or two. The mid- and long-term effect would be an overall increase in traffic in Harrogate District.
I’m convinced that road-building isn’t a solution to traffic problems in Killinghall. Real solutions are:
- provide much better cycle routes to link Killinghall to Harrogate via the A61 and B6161, and to link Killinghall to the Nidderdale Greenway
- reduce traffic speed through Killinghall
- give people wider pavements and more priority at crossing lights
- aim for a reduction in traffic volumes in Harrogate through modal shift, in line with the UK’s climate obligations