It’s not what you want to see when you drive into your home: someone’s been and chopped down a load of trees. This is what happened this month when Highways England sent their chain-saw contractors in Histon & Impington. They gave no forewarning and it appears that they ignored basic rules like avoiding the bird nesting season.
No matter that this is a part of the big A14 project which is approved and going to happen. There are ways of engaging with the people who will be affected and of gaining their trust that what’s being done is necessary and that everything will be done to restore the ecology which has been lost and to protect people from the noise of more traffic on more lanes of road.
The community has reacted with understandable anger. David called Highways England and its contractor in to an open meeting and then to take questions from the Parish Council. They have acknowledged that they got this wrong.
Although the community is keen to work with Highways England and its contractors to enable it to deliver the new A14 in a manner which also delivers benefits for Histon & Impington and Orchard Park it still needs to know that it will be listened to.
There’s now an A14 working group addressing a number of workstreams including:
- trees and ecology
- air and noise pollution
- local traffic
It’s important that Highways England is now seen to be working with the community. It makes all sorts of claims about its approach to the environment. It has a vision:
“A strategic road network working more harmoniously with its surroundings to deliver an improved environment.”
We need to see this in action in Histon & Impington.