Chaos theory

PUBLISHED: 11:15 20 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:05 06 May 2010

SIR, — I read your front page (Herts Advertiser, March 13) about the proposed Butterfly World scheme in Chiswell Green with great excitement. This conservation project will be a great tourist boost to the area. Some 20,000 visitors a week are expected to

SIR, - I read your front page (Herts Advertiser, March 13) about the proposed Butterfly World scheme in Chiswell Green with great excitement. This conservation project will be a great tourist boost to the area. Some 20,000 visitors a week are expected to visit the centre. This all seems wonderful.

However, this part of the M1 is one of the most congested sections in the country with over 160,000 vehicles using it per day. Already Harpenden and St Albans are gridlocked with traffic spilling off the motorway when a problem occurs. At present we seem to be having this problem at least four out of the five working days.

To illustrate the magnitude of the shift, when my daughters first used the school bus between Elstree and Harpenden 10 years ago, the journey took a regular 40 minutes. Now it regularly takes between an hour and an hour-and-a-quarter - with times of one-and-a-half to one-and-three-quarter hours not infrequent.

All this is before we have the tripling of passengers at Luton Airport by the Olympic games in 2012. We also face the major development of housing in the East of England Development Plan. This allows for extensive development in precisely this locality. We also have the continuing infill developments throughout the district.

The road infrastructure across the district cannot accommodate existing traffic levels. Yet I have seen nothing in the District Plans that provides any sign of a coherent traffic management and road provision to cope with this expansion. Speaking to councillors I sense there is no political will to address the proposal for a Harpenden by-pass. Indeed, several have said that until things get so bad that there is a public outcry, there was nothing that they could do and estimated it might be 15 to 25 years before we reach such a position.

As admirable as the proposed Butterfly World proposal may be, to do so without a coherent and robust traffic and road plan for the district is nothing short of madness. A butterfly only has to flap its wings on the M1 for the whole district to come to a standstill. The project may be a wonderful conservation scheme but at what additional cost to the health and well-being of local residents?

BERNARD J.M. STEWART,

Dalkeith Road, Harpenden.

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