Thumbs down for rival road

AN environmental quango has dismissed a rival route to the Heysham to M6 link road weeks before plans for the £123m scheme will be considered by a planning inspector.

Natural England said the Lancaster Bypass Link (LBL) – an alternative route backed by Morecambe Town Council – was too similar to the “western route” rejected nearly a decade ago and would have the same “construction and operational impacts” on wildlife. Lancashire County Council chose the northern route over the western one in 2004 after an ecology report ruled it would destroy the habitats of great crested newts and bats.

But supporters of the LBL said their route is slightly different and would link a new junction 33A close to Lancaster University over the River Lune to Ovangle Road.

“Only a 200 yard stretch of our route is common to both so we don’t believe it can have the same environmental impact,” said Mike Dickinson, proponent of the LBL.

“The LBL has tremendous advantages.”

The northern route would link junction 34 with the Heysham bypass through Torrisholme.

The Planning Inspectorate will begin the latest round of hearings on the route on July 9 at Lancaster Town Hall at 2pm and will look at alternatives on July 10 and 11.

After the examination, a final decision on the road could take six months

HAVE YOUR SAY ON THE M6 LINK PLANS

Timetable for examination of the Heysham-M6 link road plan: all hearings are at Lancaster Town Hall starting at 9.30am unless specified

Monday, July 9 2pm – meet at Lancaster Town Hall: site visit including Heysham Port

Tuesday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 11: Hearings on alternative options

Thursday, July 12 and Friday, July 13: Hearings on traffic flows and noise assessments

Tuesday, July 17: Open floor hearing – arguments for and against the road

Wednesday, July 18: Open floor hearing, provisionally at Torrisholme Methodist Church, Norwood Druive, Torrisholme, time tbc

Thursday, July 19: Open floor hearing if required, site visits if not

Tuesday, July 24 and Wednesday, July 25: Hearings into compulsory acquisition of land for the scheme including site visit to Lancaster and Morecambe College on July 25, plus hearing on changes to draft development consent order

Thursday, July 26 and Friday, July 27: hearing on changes to draft development consent order plus any further site visits

Monday, July 30 to Friday, August 3: Any further site visits

Monday, September 3 to Friday, September 7: Any further hearings required