The Blackwater Valley Action Group
The Blackwater Valley Action Group
the Group is run by a Steering Committee of local resisdents
4our letters to the Highways Agency
other groups campaigning against the Highways Agency's proposed A120 route:
real-time information

The public consultation period closed on 17 June 2005. The next steps will be for the Highways Agency to analyse the public reaction and the criticism of the route by Essex County Council and other elected representatives, and - presumably - to come back with other options.

The HA's Chris Shuker has written: "It would not be in our interests to continue promoting a scheme that had considerable local objection if another viable solution was available, however, I am sure you will appreciate that we do have to follow certain guidelines in relation to value for money and finding a scheme that offers the greatest potential benefits." (21 July 2005)

The Highways Agency have subsequently announced: "As a result of the consultation we are currently looking at various routes suggested by respondents to the consultation. We are also carrying out further more detailed investigations into our own proposals following comment from respondents so there is a considerable amount of further work being done before we reach the next stages in the process."

In July 2006 The Highways Agency wrote: "In straight cost/benefit comparisons, buildability, and environmental mitigation, the proposed southern route is still showing up as the 'best'. However, routes that have been worked up taking on board all the comments from the public consultation are more of a compromise on the three aspects above. If we were to announce a Preferred Route now, it could be the original proposed southern, but as there was so much opposition to it and as we have developed alternative options that are a compromise, and coming closer in terms of cost/benefit, buildability, and environmental mitigation as we complete the more detailed traffic work, it would not be acceptable." [Note: we take this to mean that HA now recognise that the original route would not be the right solution.]

Since then there have been several delays both to the HA's announcement of its conclusions and the likely start date for any upgrade. In November 2006 they wrote :"Having taken all the consultation responses into account in our assessment, we are hopeful that the Ministers will be able to announce the Preferred Route by the end of 2006.  We will still need to consider how announcement will be made and what exhibitions/presentations may be needed to show how we have reached our conclusions... "

Update on current position: 27th July 2009: "Ministers have written to the Chairs of regional organisations with the Government's response to Regional Funding Advice submitted in February. The Highways Agency scheme for improvements to the A120 (Braintree to Marks Tey) has been removed from the East of England region's programme. In line with their advice DfT have instructed the Highways Agency not to proceed any further with the development of this scheme. All routes previously shown  between Braintree and Marks Tey are withdrawn and no further work will be carried out on them."

See the Highways Agency A120 project website for further information.

The key players are:
The Rt Hon Lord Adonis Mr Chris Shuker, A120 project leader
Minister for Transport. Highways Agency
76 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DR Heron House, 49-53 Goldington Rd Bedford MK40 3LL
Mr Brooks Newmark MP
House of Commons, London SW1 0AA. Councillor James Abbott

Braintree District Council
Councillor Norman Hume
Essex CC Cabinet Member for Transport & Planning Causeway House, Braintree CM7 9HB
Essex County Council, County Hall, Chelmsford CM1 1LB Councillor Tom Foster
Braintree District Council

The Blackwater Valley Action Group