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We have objected to Highways England’s plans for the M42 junction 6 improvement scheme in Solihull. The junction is between the M42 motorway and the A45 and it serves Birmingham International station.
The society is concerned about the loss of public access on foot as a result of the scheme. The proposal is for a new stretch of main road running to the west of the M42, and the society has noted that this would sever six public footpaths. Walkers would have to walk lengthy diversions along roads where they would be at risk from vehicles and suffer from the pollution and noise they generate.
The scheme falls within Solihull Metropolitan Borough and the plans are contrary to policy P18 in the council’s local plan. These are to promote, support and enhance physical and mental health and well-being, and to develop a high-quality, safe and convenient walking and cycling network.
The proposals will have a devastating effect on those wishing to walk in the area and in particular people who wish to walk to and from Birmingham International station. They will be deterred from using the paths because the diversions are tortuous and, in places, dangerous.
While the scheme may assist motorists, it will be to the detriment of walkers, riders and cyclists.
We have called on Highways England to create pedestrian footbridges wherever new roads are proposed to sever public footpaths, and wide footways at any point where people are forced to share a vehicular route. We have also said that it must keep public paths on their existing routes, and model the new roads to accommodate them. It must also uphold policy P18 in the Solihull local plan.