The Nidderdale Rant was once a familiar term around these parts, being an old name for what we now know as Pateley Show, the annual September feast a bit further up the dale.
In the early 1900’s when my great grandad, a mill boilerman from Yeadon – ‘a Tory with hands like shovels’ according to my Uncle Hugh – went there for his annual holiday, to get some fresh air and plenty of ale, it was known as the Nidderdale Rant. A time of great celebration and feasting, when work was put on hold and people left their farms and factories and headed for Upper Nidderdale.
Further downstream, when this fight is won and we’ve chased the road builders and the developers over the hill and saved our precious land, we’ll have that sort of rant and it will be a joyous occasion. But til then we have a lot to do. Lots of people to persuade, arguments to win and rants to be had.
But we will win because we are right. Putting a road through the Nidd Gorge green corridor is simply wrong. It would be an environmental crime of the highest order. We will not stand idly by and let it happen. It’s time to stand up and be counted.
Yes, the traffic on Skipton Road is bad. I witness it every morning at 8 o’ clock: a constant stream of nose to tail vehicles, 9 out of 10 of them with just one person in, going to work; with the other car transporting a school child. It’s horrendous. Particularly the air pollution from all these slow moving fossil fuel burners, right outside the playground of my child’s school. Luckily, the wind blows from the south-west most days, carrying the toxic fumes over High Harrogate, but it is still a worry.
So the congestion is bad, ridiculous, unacceptable, there’s absolutely no doubt about that, it can’t be allowed to continue. So what’s the solution?
I know! Let’s build another road. Let’s use this congestion problem to justify building that northern road that the property developers and the Chamber of Trade and Commerce have been wanting. The road that would give access to lots of valuable building land that is currently out of reach. Those fields we’ve had our eye on. It would grow the town and attract more people and businesses. What use are those fields anyway? Fields in a town are just crying out to be built on. It’s just a matter of time. It’s inevitable. We’ll make money.
No you won’t. Because those fields, that River, that Beck, that Gorge, that Greenway, are not yours to make money from. They are there for the species that depend on them and our grandchildren yet to be born. They provide us with an escape from your money making world and make us more human. They make our lives worth living. People have dedicated their lives to conserving them. You don’t have the moral authority to destroy them, and we won’t let you.
Building roads does not solve congestion, it’s official:
“A study of 86 road schemes commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) found most roads increased traffic while destroying the countryside.”
So please NYCC, Councillor Mackenzie and Harrogate Chamber, don’t give us the spin that this road is needed to tackle congestion. The evidence is clear: more roads = more traffic. Read the report!!
Just so you’ve no excuse for any further deception, this is the report:
Sloman L, Hopkinson L and Taylor I (2017) The Impact of Road Projects in England Report for CPRE
So please, before you waste any more of the £600,000 of our hard-earned, taxpayers cash, asking a road-building company to review the need for a road (conflict of interest anyone?) have a good read and think again!