M6 and M54 link road 'will cause pollution and destroy ancient woodland'

Serious concerns over pollution and congestion have been raised over plans for a new multi-million pound link road.

Currently, vehicles have to drive between the M54 and the M6 if they want to travel north on the M6
Currently, vehicles have to drive between the M54 and the M6 if they want to travel north on the M6

The route between the M54 Junction 1 and M6 Junction 11 has been granted consent by the Secretary of State for Transport after years of planning.

It will mean a number of changes and additions to the area, which include the villages of Featherstone, Brinsford and Shareshill, including the building of a new junction on the M54 to provide direct links to and from the M54 and the new link road and the local routes.

Currently, motorists have to drive between the M54 and the M6 if they want to travel north on the M6.

The new link road will add a pathway between the M54 and M6

Hilton Lane will need to be realigned over the new link road and a new junction will be created at M6 Junction 11 increasing capacity and a new link to Mill Lane.

The announcement has led to concerns in the area around where the extension will be built, with the South Staffordshire Councillor for Hilton Paula Dawes saying the route would destroy historic woodland and run very close to residential homes.

She said: "This new dual-carriageway will be just 40 metres from homes in Hilton and in this time when we all know about the dangers of pollution there must have been a better way.

"Under this route, Darke Lane will become a dead end and so many lovely trees and ancient woodland will be destroyed.

"The vast majority of people were against this route because of the loss of green belt land but it is a case of now trying to make the best of what has already has been decided.

"They do not know about the noise pollution that this dual-carriageway will cause and will not until it is built.

"We will face years of construction noise and in Hilton will be sandwiched between the building of the new road and the redevelopment of junction 11 of the M6, it will be awful."

The A460 carries a large amount of traffic every day, cutting between the M54 and M6

For people living in and running in businesses in Featherstone, there were concerns around the environmental impact of the new link road, as well as the possibility of less custom as a result of less passing traffic.

Babita Devi, postmaster of the Post Office on the A460 Cannock Road, said her main worry was around losing customers due to the link road bypassing the post office.

Babita Devi said her concerns were around possibly losing customers due to less passing trade

The 48-year-old said: "After it has all gone through and I realised what was happening, I became a bit concerned as because we are on the main road, we get a lot of people coming off the motorway, so we might lose a lot of passing trade.

"I know it will reduce congestion around here as there will be less cars, but I do wonder about the environmental concerns due to the added pollution from traffic running by.

"We have a lot of countryside around here and the road is going to cut through it, so that's a bit concerning."

The route will see the road parallel to the A460 Cannock Road, with a junction leading onto the road from the M54 junction, as well as running over farm land near Hilton Hall.

Jackalin Webb said she could see the reason for the road, but worried about environmental concerns

Jackalin Webb, who lives in one of the many estates around Featherstone, said she had mixed views about the road, with the 57-year-old saying she could see less traffic, but more environmental concerns.

She said: "They've said they're going to do it, so there's a level of acceptance around this, and while it might create a bit more traffic, commuters might find it a bit easier as it'll ease some parts of the road.

"I am a bit concerned about the environmental impact as I've walked up Dark Lane and seen deer up there, which was a nice surprise in my local area, but a road like that could cause them to disappear forever.

"I do hope it makes things a bit safer here as the junction between Dark Lane and the A460 is very dangerous at times, with people running the lights."

John Orpe said he hoped the new road would improve traffic around the area

Not every resident said they thought the link road would have a negative impact, however, with 75-year-old John Orpe saying he thought it was a good thing that the road was coming in.

He said: "I've lived in this village for 52 years and driven for around 50 and I've always found the roads down here to be dreadful and the turn onto the A460 very dangerous, so I think this road is a good idea.

"I think you have to move forward with the times and I've got no qualms with the work they're planning to do as with the amount of traffic there is on the road, they've got to do something about it."

Doreen Butler said she thought the link road was a bad idea

Fellow septuagenarian Doreen Butler had a different view to Mr Orpe, saying that there were already too many cars on the road.

The 79-year-old said: "There's too many cars out there already and I think this is going to create a lot more traffic, so I think its a bad idea.

"I also think there's going to be lots of fumes from the road, so that's a problem for the area, and it's going to affect the shops as there's going to be less trade around here."

Cindy Tomlinson said she worried about the environmental concerns and more traffic

Cindy Tomlinson, who owns Kafe Neo just off the A460, said she thought that work needed to be done, but the 58-year-old said she felt it was the wrong choice.

She said: "The M6 is really busy and it does need a link road attached to it, but I really think this is the wrong choice as it goes through a greenbelt area.

"To me, it's the wrong choice as it goes through houses and they'll have to build bigger flyovers, so I just think it's a poor choice that's going to cause problems in the future."

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