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Tong-Fulneck green belt group welcomes review into road-building projects

The Tong and Fulneck Valley Association has welcomed a review into local road-building projects which could see projects producing high-carbon emissions being scrapped.

Bradford Council has made repeated attempts to build the £64m South East Bradford Access Road (SEBAR), on green belt land between Tong and Pudsey, which includes ancient oak woodland.

Last year the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) provided it with £1.2m funding for an outline business case of the road and supporters say it would help create extra jobs and easier access in the Holme Wood area.

But now an ongoing review proposed by the WYCA into previously planned road building schemes is set to look at the carbon impact they would have on the environment

This could lead to some schemes being abandoned altogether if they are judged to lead to a big increase in carbon emissions in the area.

And the Tong and Fulneck Valley Association hopes that such investigations could persuade Bradford Council to finally its drop plans for the SEBAR when the results of the review are finally published.

“When its results are published, we hope this review will make Bradford Council see sense and ditch their plans for the SEBAR once and for all,” says Julia McGoldrick, chair of The Tong and Fulneck Valley Association, which has been fighting to stop development of the access road and housing in the local area since 2007.

“We have kept up the pressure to save this outstanding natural resource that is right on our doorstep, a precious part of our history and heritage, an essential ecosystem, and a beautiful place to spend time.

“The review of road building projects in West Yorkshire is long overdue. The building of the SEBAR through this beautiful valley will have carbon and environmental impacts well beyond the inevitable increase in traffic this will generate, and Bradford Council have already been granted funds to widen Tong Street which would eliminate the existing traffic issues.

“Emissions from transport are the highest of all UK sectors and the only sector to have increased emissions in recent years. Continuing to build roads, particularly through greenbelt will continue to wreak havoc on our struggling wildlife, increase air pollution and continue to lock us into a high carbon transport network.” 

“These plans also do not take into account the government’s climate commitments to reach net zero emissions by 2050 or its commitments under the Paris climate agreement.

“And with the COP26 climate negotiations in Glasgow, it is clear that the road-building scheme through Tong and Fulneck Valley cannot be considered for development as it is not aligned to local, national or international interests or commitments”

Tong and Fulneck Valley Association, which has campaigned hard to reverse Bradford Council’s bid to build the road and housing in the valleys, has been backed by thousands of local residents who have made their opposition clear to the council at each public consultation. 

The group opposes the SEBAR and any development in the valley, amid concerns over flooding, impact on biodiversity an the trees, vegetation and water in the valley soak up carbon dioxide emissions.

At a recent WYCA meeting, Councillor Tim Swift, chair of the Authority”s Climate, Energy and Environment Committee, said: “It is really important we get this right. We’re all aware of the dangers legacy road schemes can have. In the past they were looked at more about solving congestion issues. Now it is more about carbon impacts.

“It is also about how road schemes are managed – it is not always as straight forward as whether a road scheme goes ahead or not.”

Bradford Council says the scheme will also be used to “unlock” land for up to 2,500 homes to be built and would also allow new sites for commercial developments. The Combined Authority has previously said the road could create “thousands” of new jobs and reduce traffic congestion on Leeds Road and Dick Lane, and junction of Tong Street and A651 Bradford Road.


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