Decisions around NDR Western Link and electric cars to be probed

The route of the proposed Western Link. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

The route of the proposed Western Link. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Two 'big ticket' Norfolk transport issues - the controversial £198m Western Link road and a strategy to get more people to switch to electric vehicles - are to be probed by councillors.

Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council agreed in June to lodge the outline business case for the controversial £198m Norwich Western Link road, which would connect the Northern Distributor Road to the A47 west of Norwich.

Artist's impression of a viaduct which could take the Western Link over the River Wensum. Photo: Nor

Artist's impression of a viaduct which could take the Western Link over the River Wensum. Photo: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Businesses, including Norwich International Airport, Chantry Place and First buses support the scheme, as does the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and Norfolk Chambers of Commerce.

But it is opposed by the Green and Labour groups at County Hall and by organisation such as Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Norfolk Rivers Trust, the Campaign To Protect Rural England and The Bat Conservation Trust.

Protesters voice their objections to the proposed Western Link road at the Norfolk Showground on Monday, June 7.

Protestors against the Western Link. - Credit: Neil Didsbury

And the county council's scrutiny committee will next Wednesday (October 20) consider what progress has been made over the road scheme since the June decision.

The Department for Transport is still considering the business case and has yet to state when it will make its decision, although council bosses hope that will happen this autumn.

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The scrutiny committee is likely to explore what environmental surveys have taken place and what monitoring will be in place for the contract.

It is very easy to charge your electric vehicle and use renewable energy against global warming and

The council's electric vehicle strategy will come under the spotlight. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The council's electric vehicle strategy will also come under the spotlight.

Council leaders say that will help get more people in Norfolk to switch to electric cars, with plans to seek funding for more public charges points.

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But the introduction of licences for people who want to run cables over public footpaths to charge cars proved controversial, with Brian Watkins, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, saying other Conservative councils, such as Hampshire, were not charging.

Steve Morphew, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Steve Morphew, who chairs Norfolk County Council's scrutiny commitee. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Labour group leader Steve Morphew, who chairs the scrutiny committee, said: "Transport is at the heart of how we live in Norfolk. Getting it wrong can be costly financially and to our environment and puts off opportunities to do better.

"The Norwich Western Link and electric vehicles are big ticket issues for Norfolk and we need to make sure the debate on them is well informed and based on facts that have been tested.”

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