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					“Good evening. My name‟s Seán Kelly and I often feel a bit like Daniel in the lion‟s
den – I‟m from Wing and I don‟t want the bypass. Or, to be more accurate, I don‟t
want the proposed dual-carriageway which just happens to bypass Wing.

“There are plenty of experts on roads and sustainable transport here, so what on earth
can I contribute? Seeking inspiration this morning, I cycled out to the Wing Hill
roundabout, where I know many of you were demonstrating with me just over a week
ago, to remind myself what the new road would look like; then I cycled to Stewkley,
barely a stone‟s throw from here, to visit the airport monument.

“On the one hand, a huge road, tens of thousands of vehicles a day, noise, pollution
and huge development potential – in twenty years time it‟ll be identikit housing. On
the other hand, a lovely little wood with a circular walk and a tasteful monument,
created by Bucks County Council as a thank-you to the people of this area for
protecting the rural nature of Bucks against the airport proposal. Which side am I on –
no contest, I‟m with Bucks on this one. Ah…

“So how, we may ask, have things changed? Why‟s the county council, which led its
citizens in protecting their environment a generation ago, U-turned into a body
determined to blight that same countryside with huge new roads, at a time when, at
last, all political parties have realised that the single biggest issue facing our
countryside, our way of life, our country, our civilization, is climate change? It feels
like it‟s not just abandoned the countryside, it‟s opened war on it.

“And here, I feel I must depart from my text. Because wasn‟t it clever of Bucks,
proposing two routes? One to be opposed by those to the north, the other to be
opposed by those to the south – leaving Wing Parish council, abandoning all
leadership, saying it really doesn‟t care where the road goes so long as it‟s built.
Divide and rule, the oldest tactic in the book.

“So why has Bucks County Council U-turned? Well, it‟s giving us what it thinks we
need. It‟s largely our own fault. We know what we want and we‟ve organised our
world to deliver it. Cheap goods, cheap transport, cheap food, now! – we don‟t ask
where‟s it from, how‟s it made – just, how much? We ignore the costs we can‟t see,
but they‟re still there – bypasses, container ports, worn-out ships rotting on a Mumbai
beach. We‟re like children who don‟t see the connection between consumption and
cost.

“So what can we do?

“Firstly, we can demand alternatives, and that‟s what this meeting is about.

“We tell our elected representatives that we don‟t want a huge new trunk road
shattering our green and pleasant countryside, north or south of Wing; that we don‟t
want rural Buckinghamshire to become a roadway; that we don‟t want the inevitable
development that would follow the road and turn our villages into one sprawling
conurbation.

“We tell our elected representatives that we do want better ,more frequent public
transport; that we do want better facilities for walking and cycling – they‟re doing it
in the cities, what about the villages?; that we do want people‟s lives, blighted by
heavy traffic on the A418 in Wing, immeasurably improved by getting the freight,
and many of the cars, off the road; we tell them that if we do need bypasses, we don‟t
want Trojan horse trunk roads; we tell them to work for us and to be honest about
what they‟re offering, and why. We tell them that this proposed „A418 improvement‟
is not a solution, it‟s a problem. We tell them to make things better for us, not worse.

“But we have to change, too.

“Most obviously, our travelling habits need to change. Every time we use a train or
bus instead of a car, every time we walk or cycle instead of drive to the take-away, we
rob the transport planners of one journey they can use to justify a new road, and we
get fitter, save money and meet people. It can be done: when I moved to Wing, about
15 years ago, I found myself driving 18000 miles a year. It was time-consuming, it
was expensive and I hated it, and over the years I‟ve changed my habits and got my
annual mileage down to about 8000. Still too many, but better.

“When we shop, think. New Zealand lamb, Dutch vegetables, American apples – how
many miles to the port, how many miles to the distribution centre in the UK, how
many miles to the supermarket shelf – how many new roads, how many bypasses did
that lamb chop, tomato, apple need to get on my plate? How many other people‟s
rural idylls have been ruined by our dinner? Buy local, seasonal food and we‟re
robbing the planners again, and putting our money into local pockets, too.

“When we throw away, think. Halve our rubbish and eventually we halve the bin-
lorry-journeys; recycle, reuse, complain to shops about packaging.

“When we take our kids to school – can we walk, can they cycle, can we rob the
planners of another journey; if we live too far away, can we share cars or demand a
bus?

“The good news is, our bit is fun. We get to eat fresher, tastier, more nutritious
seasonal food, reconnect with the land, become healthier, save money.
“Since moving to this beautiful area I‟ve become a father, and I don‟t want a better
alternative to this road just for me, I want it for all your children and for mine. Let‟s
pass on to them all we hold dear, and not condemn them to live in a concrete jungle
built to honour our expensive unhealthy obsession with a lorry- and car-driven
economy. Let‟s leave them a people-based economy.

“If you doubt me, look at Leighton Buzzard: from that example, what this road
scheme will give us is clear – short-term relief from traffic in Wing; fewer facilities in
the village as through traffic falls-off and custom drifts away; huge new swathes of
housing estates (oh yes, they‟re already land-banking all round Wing); and in twenty
years, the traffic will be worse than ever; and a damned great smelly noisy eyesore
will have ruined our fields, woods and farmers‟ livelihoods; we‟ll have fewer pubs
and shops, and probably no post office.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we need to say „No‟ to the current plans and „Yes‟ to
alternatives, and we need to change.
“Thank you.”

				
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posted:2/27/2010
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