Scores of walkers joined members of the Woodland Trust in Harrogate at the Nidderdale Greenway in a ‘Save Nidd Gorge’ protest at the weekend.
With the deadline approaching on Monday, July 8 for North Yorkshire County Council’s controversial traffic congestion consultation, the protesters were addressed at the start of the walk on Saturday by Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones and renowned Harrogate nature writer Rob Cowen.
Both supported the Woodland Trust’s case that a possible relief road from Bilton to Forest Lane near Nidd Gorge would not only destroy ancient woodland and the natural environment but also didn’t add up to a sustainable solution to traffic problems.
In the meantime, staff at a Harrogate vets’ practice have swapped their uniform for anti ‘relief’ road campaign T-shirts, to remind clients about the importance of filling in the Harrogate Congestion survey.
Sonya Mitchell, Practice Manager at Wagtails Vets on Kings Road, came up with the idea of wearing the HALT (Harrogate Alliance for Less Traffic) shirts, and staff were just as keen as she is to support the cause and spread the message.
Sonya said: “All of us feel very strongly that we need to keep Nidd Gorge safe from human interference. It is imperative that all the glorious, precious and irreplaceable fauna and wildlife remain intact, and untouched for future generations to enjoy.”
The campaign by residents groups such as Harrogate and Knaresborough Alliance for Less Traffic (HALT) has also been supported by pupils from many schools in the district who have been making their own ‘Save Nidd Gorge’ banners.
The latest schools to get involved are Coppice Valley Primary School in Harrogate and Aspin Primary School in Knaresborough.
A Harrogate resident spotted and photographed a deer in the Nidd Gorge area last week in the Nidd Gorge area while walking with his wife.
Vet Fernando Cordeiro, who employs 11 people at his practice, said it had been an amazing sight.
North Yorkshire County Council has always been keen to point out that the controversial Bilton to Forest Lane ‘relief road’ idea is just one option of many ideas in its online survey on attitudes to traffic congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough.
There have been more than 10,000 responses to North Yorkshire County Council’s online survey.
The Woodland Trust is advising residents to vote against a relief road in question 15 of the council’s online survey.
Once Monday’s deadline passes, a report will be made to councillors at NYCC’s Harrogate and Knaresborough Area Constituency Committee on August 29, and Skipton and Ripon ACC on September 6.
The ultimate decision on on what to do about traffic congestion is likely to be taken by members of the North Yorkshire County Council executive at the end of this year.