Multi-billion pound tunnel linking Sheffield and Manchester

Winding local roads, bad weather conditions and tricky junctions often make the commute between Sheffield and Manchester a long one.

The frequent queues and accidents mean it can be an unreliable, as well as dangerous journey.

This will soon change though; as in this March’s budget Chancellor George Osbourne announced £75 million will be put towards funding a tunnel linking these two major cities. This has come after a study published by Highways England, in November, announced that this would be feasible.

This 18 mile long tunnel would go under the Peak District and could be the largest constructed in Europe to date.

Conservative MP for the High Peak, Andrew Bingham said, “This could potentially cut a large amount off of the distance between two of the most important cities in the North”.

It “would have a dramatic effect on the economy of the north while removing 10,000 vehicles a day from the Peak District National Park”.

The report is now being examined by The National Infrastructure Commission, who will consider the practicality of this ambitious project.

Chair of the NIC, Lord Adonis, said, “It is time to make the North a powerhouse – and we can only do that with a new era of infrastructure investment”.

If the ambitious plans to rebalance the UK economy go through and the Northern Powerhouse is created, wealth could increase by £1,600 per individual per year. This is according to analysis by HM Treasury for a report on the Northern Powerhouse.

It’s believed this development could improve the economy of the north by between £171 million and £421 million a year.

There are some environmental concerns, as the report says the route is located near “a Special Protected Area; a Special Area of Conservation; three Sites of Special Scientific Interest and six identified Flood Hot Spots”.

However the Department of Transport is “committed to balancing economic gains through improving connectivity, and protecting and enhancing our valued natural environment and landscape”.

Campaigner for Friends of the Peak District, Anne Robinson, explained how the “study is predicated on not impacting the Peak District National Park”.

“One of the study aims is to enhance the National Park environment”.

However she did have some other reservations; “a motorway exiting a tunnel in the Rivelin Valley or at Hillsborough would be pretty controversial”.

“Much more controversial though is spending £6bn on a tunnel to connect Manchester & Sheffield – what will be left to invest in the rest of the North and think of what that £6bn could be spent on instead!”

Campaign for Better Transport has major concerns with the project. The Chief Executive, Stephen Joseph, said the plans are “simply madness and should be rejected before any more money is wasted on it”.

He said, “These long road tunnels are notoriously dangerous” and “those examining the proposed scheme would do well to look at the safety of similar road tunnels on the continent”.

 

 

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