Path of the proposed Norwich Western Link road which will cut a swathe through the Norfolk countryside
Stop the Wensum Link campaign comprises ecologists, scientists, lawyers, academics and environmentalists, as well as many other concerned individuals. We are against the Norwich Western Link (NWL) infrastructure project which is proposed to cross the ecologically rich Wensum Valley west of Norwich.
The valley is a Special Area of Conservation and has Sites of Special Scientific Interest, ancient woodland and a rare chalk stream. It is also home to probably the only colony of endangered Barbastelle Bats in the country and 39 bird species of conservation value (Schedule 1, BoCC Red or Amber List). Studies show that bird and mammal abundance is reduced by 20-30% by major infrastructure like the Norwich Western Link road (Helldin, 2019)
The cost will be anything up to £300 million.
The above drone footage follows the path of the road, showing from above, the woodlands that will be destroyed should the project go ahead.
Norwich Western Link mentioned in House of Lords
Stonehenge road and tunnel decision unlawful
Campaigners are celebrating a massive victory after a judge ruled that a decision to allow a dual carriageway, road and tunnel to be built within the ancient World Heritage Site was unlawful.
Ferrovial Construction has been appointed by Norfolk County Council for the possible construction of the Norwich Western Link road. Around the UK and the world, this company is involved in projects which are taking our planet and people to the brink of disaster – this includes expansion of the aviation industry at Heathrow, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton, and the discredited climate wrecking and polluting Silvertown Tunnel project in London. The climate and ecological destruction associated with Norwich Western Link is no exception to this.
The two hour scrutiny of the NWL business case and contract on 23rd June was totally unsatisfactory. It leaves more questions unanswered than before, and most issues have been kicked down the road to a possible planning inquiry
Case for Norfolk Link Road presents little evidence of producing significant economic gain and also heightens concern over its impact on climate, the local environment and biodiversity
The legal case against the Norwich Western Link is clear. However, it looks likely that we will need to ensure that environmental law is enforced. For this we need a legal fighting fund to be ready to respond quickly. Please donate whatever you can and share the link:
Why Building Roads Doesn't Work
What Makes Wensum Valley Valuable
Satellite photos of the Wensum Valley and a map of the proposed route showing how the Norwich Western Link Road would cut through the heart of the little natural woodland we have left.
"There are Grade II listed properties that are younger than these trees and yet better protected. Now, after more than four centuries, my oaks – and many others like them – are soon to be felled." - Iain Robinson Read the full article here
The Wensum Valley is home to a super colony of endangered Barbastelle bats, discovered just last year, and the proposed road would plow right through the centre of their habitat. If the road is built, colonies of this IUCN red-listed species will be lost. This is against the law.
Please help Wild Wings Ecology continue the independent scientific study which has already revealed how vitally important the woodlands in the Wensum Valley are to these extraordinary bats for shelter, raising their young and feeding. Robust evidence will enable us to demand that their protection is upheld, as legally required..You can read the open letter in which barbastelle expert Dr Lotty Packman presents independent research, funded by the public. A video presentation of Wild Wings Ecology's findings is available to view here
The River Wensum: A rare and precious chalk stream
The Wensum river is a chalk stream - some of the planet’s rarest habitats and 85% of them are found in England. Of the 260 true chalk streams on Earth, 224 of them run through the English countryside, We are lucky to have most of the few examples globally here in the East of England.
On 26th February we welcomed Jonah Tosney of The Norfolk Rivers Trust who showed us the importance of this precious ecosystem and the rare species that live there. A video of the presentation is below
We'd love to hear what makes Wensum Valley special to you.
Please get in touch to share your thoughts, photos or artwork.
With your permission, we'll add them to "Your Valley" page.
Here are some of the events we've got coming up.
More on our event page
Common Ground - moving from John Clare’s Helpston to Twyford Down
An evening of storytelling, poetry and discussion with Hugh Lupton & Helen Beynon
Weston Longville Village Hall, Church Street NR9 5JU
23 October 2021 at 7-10pm
Local acclaimed storyteller, Hugh Lupton, and ecologist, Helen Beynon, lead us on a journey, celebrating the beauty of our countryside, the threat of its disruption and destruction and the importance to us all of its preservation.
All proceeds to Stop The Wensum Link campaign
Blue Can Trail
Ringland Lane, Norwich, NR8 6
Come and see on the ground where the Norwich Western Link would be built if it allowed to go ahead.
Marked with blue tin cans - this brings home the massive area of peaceful countryside that will be destroyed.
Local residents have not been provided with accurate maps of the proposed route so this can help show what will be cut off.
Stand in the area and imagine a dual carriageway with cars roaring by at 70mph.
Ringland Lane and the Broadway have been marked so far. Further areas will be marked, look out for our next tin can trail event,
(cans are monitored and will be removed at a later date)
Walk in the Wensum Valley
Some Sundays St Peter's Church, RIngland
Keep an eye out for details
Stop the Wensum Link has various sub groups which work on various aspects of the campaign and hold various events. If you'd like to know more, please get in touch
Norwich Western Link Alternatives Next meeting Monday 20th September 7:30pm on zoom (click/tap to join)
There are terrible traffic problems in the Wensum Valley. But there are better alternatives to the NWL which are cheaper, better for residents and better for the wildlife. With your help we can start to put together some other strategies: other roads that can upgraded, public transport. They avoided building the M4 in Wales because they came up with a better plan - that was cheaper and less destructive to the environment. Come and help us!
Outreach Group Next meeting Monday 11th October 5:30pm on zoom (click/tap to join)
Come and join our friendly team working on getting the word out on the Norwich Western Link Road. All ideas on online/ in person events welcome. Any little time contribution is helpful, we have so much to do!
Ecology and Surveying
Legal Campaign Group
Co-ordinating and Steering Group
The Norwich Western Link Road:
The Case Against in Detail
Norwich Western Link, context in local plan and on-going Council, DfT and planning processes
Ringland Woods owner, Dr Iain Robinson, on ecology and the devastating impacts of the NWL
Planning, Habitats Regulations and legal issues
Complaint to NCC Leader re decade long failure to deliver on climate change promises (DOC)
Open Letter of complaint re evidence of bat super colony
Submission to the Greater Norwich Local Plan consultation (PDF)
How You Can Help Stop the Link
We would love your help!
Whether you can help out by attending the occasional event or spreading the word by sharing our social media posts. Or whether you have the time for a weekly or monthly commitment, we would love to hear from you. Please watch the video to see what's involved. We are a passionate and friendly bunch of people.
On 7 June, Norfolk County Council voted to push ahead with the
Norwich Western Link Road
They will now apply for central government funding by presenting the Outline Business Case to the Department of Transport.
This funding is only to be given if certain environmental standards have been met, and Norfolk County Council have not yet finished their surveys, so cannot demonstrate this!
The 'business case' for the road is also based on inadequate and pre-COVID (2011!) transport data. The Council is now under massive financial strain and they would be liable for any project cost overruns.
Please write to your councillor to express your concerns about this decision