Beyond the ‘burdensome estate’ – West Country Bylines
Since West Country Bylines published my article Blocked by the ‘burdensome estate‘ people from all over the country have contacted me with similar examples of apparent official vandalism. Despite the Department for Transport (DfT) publishing a cycling and walking plan for England which ostensibly “sets out a vision for a travel revolution”, part of that same department still seems set quietly to undermine it.
Organisations seeking to use disused tunnels and bridges to create safe off-road routes claim that 134 structures currently managed as part of the Historical Railways Estate (HRE) are threatened with demolition or infill. Campaigners have circulated this map. Particularly contentious examples include the Queensbury Tunnel in West Yorkshire, and bridges vital for the Alnwick Greenway. In response to these threats, the ‘HRE Group’ – an alliance of engineers, cycling campaigners and greenway developers – has started a petition calling on the DfT to “protect our railway heritage from Highways England’s wrecking ball”.