Protect our railway heritage from National Highways' wrecking ball

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The HRE Group started this petition to Duncan Smith and

The UK’s developing network of foot and cycle routes has brought new life to many old railways over the past 50 years. As we build a better normal after the coronavirus pandemic, increasing provision for active travel will bring health, wellbeing, environmental, economic and connectivity benefits, and the Government has recognised this by committing £2 billion over five years to deliver new infrastructure.

Many of these green corridors are ecologically sensitive, supporting increased biodiversity that typically relies upon movement and wider landscape connectivity.

But National Highways, acting on the Department for Transport’s behalf, has plans to spend much of its excessive budget for managing the Historical Railways Estate of 3,100+ disused railways structures by demolishing or infilling potentially hundreds of them, compromising future greenway schemes by blocking or severing the routes they span or carry. The same plans could also jeopardise railway reopenings and extensions to heritage lines.

Infilling involves burying a bridge in around 1,000 tonnes of aggregate and concrete, blighting the landscape and bringing significant environmental impacts. Schemes cost around £150K, far in excess of a proportionate repair programme.

No meaningful assessment is being made as to the value of each at-risk structure or the negative impacts of their loss; most of them are in Fair condition and present low levels of risk. And attempts are being made to progress most of the schemes under Permitted Development powers to avoid the challenges that often accompany normal planning processes. So, not only are they blindly taking a wrecking ball to potentially useful structures and community aspirations, they’re acting disreputably to bypass democratic process and overcome objectors.

By adding your voice, the loudest possible message can be sent to National Highways and the Department for Transport: these heritage assets must not be put beyond use if they could play a positive future role and all plans to do so must be subject to appropriate public scrutiny.

Please help to safeguard our nation’s threatened disused railway heritage.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 25,000!
At 25,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!