Published: Wednesday, 10th July 2019

Harrogate Borough Council has formally submitted its response to North Yorkshire County Council's (NYCC) Knaresborough and Harrogate congestion study.

In a letter to Councillor Don Mackenzie, NYCC's executive member for access, Harrogate Borough Council explains it does not support the idea of a new relief road.

Instead, the council calls for investment in sustainable transport measures, particularly those focussed on dedicated cycling infrastructure and public transport improvements.

The letter also acknowledges a potential future need for demand management, but makes it clear the council does not favour any congestion charge as set out in the NYCC consultation.

The borough council believes there is potential to unlock road capacity by improving some junctions across the district, similar to a recent scheme in Knaresborough.

The letter makes it clear that Harrogate Borough Council is committed to working with the county council to tackle congestion in the two towns.

It suggests a proactive action plan should be developed with the private sector which would bring the biggest benefits to the future of sustainable transport.

The council's submission to the study includes a series of short, medium and long-term measures which it believes have the potential to reduce congestion.

It also offers to support the county council's work to prepare a strategic transport policy for Harrogate and Knaresborough.

The letter acknowledges the fact new road infrastructure may be required in future if investment in sustainable transport does not encourage enough people out of their cars and onto two wheels, public transport or walking.

Councillor Phil Ireland, cabinet member for sustainable transport, said:

“Based on the evidence I've seen, I do not support the idea of a relief road.

“Instead of rushing to lay down new tarmac, there should be greater investment in measures which encourage people out of their cars.

“New cycling infrastructure and improved public transport – along with changes to some junctions - will help tackle the congestion which blights Knaresborough and Harrogate.

“It will also help us realise our ambitions on carbon reduction and climate change.

“I believe a joint approach with us, the county council, other transport authorities and the private sector will have the maximum benefit.”

Our full response to the study is available to read now.

Harrogate Borough Council response to North Yorkshire County Council congestion study