The Shrewsbury North West Road


The North West Road planning application 21/00924/EIA was lodged on 1st March 2021, we need as many people as possible to put in a formal objection (it doesn't need to be detailed) and to contact their local councillor. See the panel of the left of this for links. 

We had a good look at the consultation documents issued earlier this year and we  were not impressed.  There are many broad generalisations such as it will reduce accidents and it will improve air quality with no evidence to back this up.  There are also broad assertions that landscape and wildlife will be sensitively managed. They also brush aside the real issue of the protected water zone at Shelton.  Severn Trent put in a strong objection to the Oxon Link Rd application, there's no sign that anything has been done to address their concerns. 

The traffic figures given are different to those seen previously, partly because this is now one scheme, previous figures assumed the Oxon Link had already been built.  By Shropshire Council's own figures (see our version of their table above) if the NWR is built only TWO roads in the town would see traffic reductions greater than 30%, Welshpool Rd & Copthorne Rd.  Smithfield Rd would see 27% less traffic, ie 1 car in 4.  We consider even these figures to be optimistic however & any reductions made would be short lived. 

Smithfield Rd is the only road in the town centre that gets any mention, they admit the NWR would have no affect on Castle Gates, Wyle Cop, the High Street, the areas that really need some action.

Meanwhile other roads will see increased traffic, inc Berwick Rd and parts of the old & new A5s.  What will happen at the awkward junction of Berwick Rd & Coton Hill when the traffic on Berwick road goes up 146%?  The 5 arm roundabout at Churncote could also be adversely affected, if there are delays here then people will be tempted to use the lanes through Ruyton etc even more than they are now. There are also plans to site a service station here!

The map provided gives thicker bands for roads where a greater number of cars will be removed, so the effect on the A5 to the south of the town looks impressive, but if you look at the chart above it shows that the reduction will be around 11%, 1 car in 9, not so impressive. 

This really is a No Relief Road! 

Launch of Better Shrewsbury Transport, Oct 2019

We are pleased to be working alongside Shropshire Wildlife Trust, CPRE, Sustainable Transport Shropshire, Shrewsbury Extinction Rebellion & the Shrewsbury & North ShropshireGreen party in BeST (Better Shrewsbury Transport) which was officially launched at a public meeting on the North West Road in Oct 2019.   We have also spoken at events on the NWR organised by Coton Hill Residents, by Shrewsbury Civic Society, and by Bicton residents. All 3 events were very well attended, 20 people were turned away in Bicton! There was considerable antipathy to the proposals, this has also been borne out through a series of Roadometers held around town. 


April 2019

Unfortunately Shropshire Council have been granted £54m towards the cost of building the Shrewsbury North West Road, against an estimated cost of £71m.  The other £17m is likely to be borrowed and re-paid from developer's contributions over the next 20 to 25 years.  In addition SC are borrowing £8m for the Link Road and with overspends the total cost could easily reach £35m.  This is a huge responsibility for SC to take on in these times of austerity and cutbacks, the repayments are likely to absorb a large proportion of the developer's contributions from the county for the 20 to 25 years.  That means there will be very limited resources available for community facilities, playgrounds, cycle tracks etc etc.  This should be a concern to all of Shropshire's residents.

This scheme is highly damaging & expensive  & we have seen no evidence that it will achieve any lasting relief for what congestion Shrewsbury has. Most of the town centre will see no benefit even under the Council's optimistic modelling and some roads linking to the NWR will see increased traffic.  In a time of heightened concerns over climate change this scheme makes no sense at all.  SC should be pursuing policies to promote walking, cycling and public transport, not wasting time on outdated road schemes.

We will continue to oppose the NWR through the planning process in collaboration with other concerned groups and individuals in Shrewsbury.  We expect a planning application later this year or early next and a public inquiry about a year later. 

We are bouyed  by the recent news of other road schemes being cancelled due to a shortage of capital funds available to the Government.  We think that Chris Grayling has over committed the Government with a further round of road schemes and expect these to be similarly cut in a few years time, we will be working to ensure that the North West Road is on the cut list.

For further info see or 

February 2018

Here is a copy of our objection letter to the DfT

January 2018

Shropshire Council have had the outline NWRR proposal accepted by Shropshire Council members and by Shrewsbury Town Council.

However, the full business case was not available until after these votes. It was submitted to the DfT on 22nd December 2017.

See the full submission here,

We believe there are many unanswered questions and flaws in the case. We are currently considering our response.

November 2017

The Shrewsbury North west Road is back on the Agenda.

Here is a link to our leaflet. Please send this on to anyone who is interested.

Shropshire Council are proposing to build a North West ‘Relief’ Road from the Oxon Link Rd (and the A5) to the west of Shrewsbury with the Battlefield Link Rd to the north. They are carrying on with expensive studies on this at great cost despite controversy over the scheme and a very small chance of it getting funding.

If the scheme is approved by the Dept for Transport, Shropshire Council will have to find at least £21m towards the cost of developing and building the road plus 100% of any overspend.  This would cost over £1m per year to repay.

The cost of the Wakefield Eastern Relief Road has recently risen by 16%, a similar situation with the NWRR would cost us an extra £17m, taking the annual cost to nearer £2m.  At a time when Shropshire Council is facing an annual deficit of £59m by 2022/3 it would be highly reckless to take on such risks. 

The scheme was mothballed in 2011 as Shropshire Council recognised that there was little chance of getting funding from the Government. Since then the costs have gone up and Government spending has tightened even further.

Shropshire Council have done a lot of good work on transport in Shrewsbury and further work has been undertaken in 2017. The Shrewsbury BID team have put forward proposals to take this further. We support these schemes and think that they should be continued and expanded & other options explored for reducing rat running in local villages.

Trials of ‘Smarter Choices’ have shown that just giving people individual, targeted information and advice on public transport plus walking and cycling facilities can cut journeys by up to 14%, at much less cost than building the NWRR and with no damage done.

Drop the NWRR and work on more effective, cheaper & more sustainable ways of controlling our traffic.

Our Objections..

1. It would be hugely expensive. £104 million plus, at least £21m of this would need to be found locally. Plus 100% of any overspend and overspends are very common on such complicated engineering projects.
Figures used to justify the expense use highly dubious cost-benefit analysis*.

2. It’s unnecessary.
There are much easier, more effective, cheaper and less damaging ways to control traffic flows.

3. It wouldn’t work*.
The Council assert that some roads would lose 30% of their traffic if the road was built but this is highly optimistic and traffic would soon build up again.  Traffic on other roads, including Huffley Lane, would increase by 30%.

4. It would be extremely damaging to important andbeautiful landscapes and wildlife.
It would carve up irredeemably the highly valuable green wedge of the Old River Bed, with a huge inclined bridge over the river at Shelton Roughs affecting the Mount, Shelton & the Berwick Estate.

5. It would lead to an increase in overall traffic levels & do nothing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions* With growing concerns over climate change if we’re to spend £100+ million on a transport scheme surely it has to contribute substantially to reducing CO2 emissions.

If you share our concerns please contact your local Shropshire Councillor asking them to seriously consider the risks that this scheme would entail - find details of your local Councillor here,

Please take part and encourage others to as well. This is not just a Shrewsbury issue as the funding will drain resources that could be better used elsewhere.

The Impact of Road Projects in England 

*  There was an excellent report produced in March 2017 outlining how ineffective road building is at cutting congestion and stimulating the local economy. ‘The Impact of Road projects in England’ L.Sloman et al.

The report studied 13 road schemes across England and has some very relevant conclusions. Link to the full report here.

or use the link to the video above. 

 Generated traffic

 Evidence from 13 road schemes (nine randomly selected from all available POPEs, across all English regions, and the four case study schemes) is consistent with the conclusion that road schemes generate traffic. Average increases over the short run (3-7 years; seven schemes) were +7%. Average increases over the long run (8-20 years; six schemes) were +47%. These were increases over-and-above background traffic growth (measured by county and regional trends), and in most cases were across a screenline, to rule out reassignment effects. Exclusion of schemes where screenline data was unavailable reduced these averages, but the difference was small.”

 Economic impacts

 Of 25 road schemes justified on the basis that they would benefit the local economy, only five had any evidence of any economic effects. Even for these five, the economic effects may have arisen from changes incidental to the road scheme, or involved development in an inappropriate location, or involved changes that were as likely to suck money out of the local area as to bring it in.

 Where a road scheme was justified on the basis that it was needed to cater for current and future traffic in a ‘pressure cooker’ area with a buoyant economy, it was common for the scheme to be followed by much development in car-dependent locations, causing rapid traffic growth and congestion on both the road scheme and the pre-existing road network.

 Some road schemes were justified on the basis that by reducing journey times, they would increase the number of jobs that were accessible to local people, or increase the potential workforce able to access major employment sites, or create thousands of new jobs. There was no evidence of measurable economic benefit from these schemes.”

 Alternatives to road building

 The roads that were the subject of the case studies were not ‘the answer’ to the problems that they were supposed to solve. The local authority, national government and business community were together locked into a highly car-dependent development model, in which road building and the associated development generated more traffic, which in turn created pressure for more road building. The case for more road building was (and is) partly justified on the basis that existing roads cannot take the strain any longer, and partly on the basis that increased road capacity will magically unlock the economic potential of the area. However, provision of more road capacity does not deliver a stable situation – the more capacity is increased, the more capacity increases are ‘needed’. In all four case studies, there were plans to enlarge junctions, or widen the road, or create a new off-line dual carriageway at one end.

 The roads → car-based development → traffic growth → roads model of economic development had not delivered even on its own terms. It has not solved Blackburn’s economic problems: unemployment is high and wage levels are low. It did not bring more jobs to the Stansted to Braintree A120 corridor. The ribbon-development of homes and businesses along supposedly ‘strategic’ corridors is self-strangling: any respite from congestion provided by a new or widened road is temporary.

More environmentally and economically effective strategies would include:

 Models of economic development in which housing and employment are focussed in towns and around existing and new rail stations, designed to densities and of an urban form which make walking and cycling the modes of travel of choice.

  • Strategic investment in new high quality rail (and light rail) corridors, in locations that will unlock land for housing and employment, built to densities and form that enable rail + bus and rail + walk / cycle for the majority of trips; and investment in rail infrastructure to support modal shift from road to rail for freight.
  • Measures to take traffic off existing roads or to manage demand at peak times, including road pricing, levies on workplace car parking, and support for businesses to reduce car use for commuting and business travel with the money raised from road pricing and workplace parking levies being invested in frequent high-quality public transport along the same corridor.
  • Broader assessment of the underlying reasons that local economies are not thriving (spanning across poor health, low educational attainment, mismatch of skills etc. as well as transport), and implementation of transport and non-transport schemes that directly address these factors.
  • Far-reaching reform of the way in which road schemes are appraised, including examination of opportunity costs and how else objectives could be achieved; a complete re-think of the excessive weighting given to aggregated (but individually small) drivers’ time savings in WebTAG; and recognition in modelling and appraisal of the likely effects of road schemes on land use.”

OLD News from 2011...

On Jan 19th 2011 Shropshire Council's Cabinet confirmed that the NWRR was no longer an active scheme and that the Council would concentrate on the Shrewsbury Integrated Transport Strategy. 
This was a great victory for all those who fought this ridiculous scheme for so long, but unfortunately it could be resuscitated sometime in the future. Recent Shropshire Council planning documents continue to make reference to it.  

SFoE’s objections to the NWRR included:
1. It made Shropshire Council’s core strategy unsound for 2 main reasons:

  1. it ran counter to objectives to protect the environment
  2. it would not have been deliverable in the plan period (to 2026), a point the Council did not contest

2.   Nothing in the plan relied on it – again something SC admitted.

SFoE led a long and vigorous campaign on the NWRR. We are now concentrating on other sustainable transport issues in Shrewsbury.


NWRR subject of great debate at the Shropshire Council Core Strategy hearings, (19th Nov 2010)

Our man at the hearings, Dave Green reports that,

The NWRR came up on Thursday, I argued the NWRR makes the core strategy unsound for 2 main reasons,

1, it runs counter to objectives to protect the environment,
2, it's not deliverable in the plan period (to 2026), a point the Council haven't contested.

plus the Council have admitted that nothing in the plan relies on it.

There was also some interesting discussion about what's now called the 'Oxon link rd' (ie Churncote to the old A5). That area is earmarked as the S'bury 
West 'sustainable urban extension' with the developers promising to build that bit at no cost to the public purse. Other developers are hotly 
contesting this and argued very strongly that the costs of this make the scheme undeliverable and it should therefore be deleted from the strategy (though it could come back in as normal housing land in the next stage of the process).

I also attended the launch of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership in  Ludlow on Nov 18th.  There was a lot of talk about how tight money is and for the need for creative thinking, then when I attended the transport workshop what did I see on the list of priorities but the NWRR. I soon told them what I thought of that (majoring on it's undeliverability rather than our core objectons), hopefully my message got across. There seems to be stronger business pressure for the Hereford by pass so I guess if the LEP backs any major scheme it's likely to be that one.



It was made clear on Tues 13th July that the NWRR 'hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell' of getting funding and will have to go back in the bottom drawer. Cllr Martin Taylor Smith reckoned it'll stay there for 10 years at least. By then it will be even more expensive and more outdated than it is now so we believe the scheme is now if not dead then at least mortally wounded. Thanks to all who helped with the campaign. We will of course continue to campaign for more sustainable transport solutions for Shrewsbury.

NWRR 13.7.10.pdf NWRR 13.7.10.pdf
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FoE organised walk the route and have a picnic, Sunday 25th April -  click opposite to hear interviews.

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12/05/2010 NWRR work halted for now!!

The consultation will be finished off and the NWRR should be discussed at the Scrutiny meeting on July 13th. The only thing that's stopped for now is progressing the business case.

Hear Martin Allard from Shropshire Council speaking to Jim Hawkins on BBC Radio Shropshire, Monday 26th April

Hear interviews on Radio Shropshire during FoE's walk of the route, Sunday 25th April
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What the Election candidates think:

In a BBC Radio Shropshire debate held on Wednesday 21st April, Mr Tandy said: "I think the north-west relief road would relieve traffic but it's only for a minority of people.

"We need an integrated bus and public transport system. At this moment in time I am for it."

Mr Kawczynski, who has held the seat since 2005, said: "I think given the state of the public finances it is not guaranteed that any government of any colour will be forthcoming with this money and I have warned the council to take that into consideration and personally I have said it will not be a priority for me."

Mr West said: "Unless we have an integrated transport solution just at the moment I wouldn't [support the relief road]. But I think it's right and proper for politicians to listen to the people. My opinion is that we need to have a solution, which makes it easy for people to get to Shrewsbury and not drive through it."


Download the latest leaflet and evidence below! 

NWRR leaflet 9.4.10.pdf NWRR leaflet 9.4.10.pdf
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NWRR leaflet 9.4.10.doc NWRR leaflet 9.4.10.doc
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Shrewsbury_NWRR_Detailed evidence.pdf Shrewsbury_NWRR_Detailed evidence.pdf
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The North West ‘Relief’ Road


Shropshire  Council are considering building a North West ‘Relief’ Road  for Shrewsbury joining up the A5 to the west with the Battlefield Link Rd to the north. They are carrying on with this at great cost, despite controversy over the scheme and a very small chance of it getting funding. It will be competing with schemes from areas with much worse congestion in a very tight economic period.


Shropshire Council and the Environment Agency have now abandoned any thoughts of linking the NWRR to a flood defence scheme for Shrewsbury.


Shropshire County Council did a lot of good work on transport in Shrewsbury which is already showing benefits in reduced traffic and increased cycling, walking and bus use. We support these schemes and think that they should be continued and expanded.

Trials of ‘Smarter Choices’ have shown that just giving people individual, targeted information and advice on public transport plus walking and cycling facilities can cut journeys by up to 14%, at much less cost than building the NWRR and with no damage done.



Drop the NWRR and work on more sustainable, feasible and acceptable ways of controlling Shrewsbury’s traffic.











Shrewsbury Friends of the Earth,


Shrewsbury Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE)


Shropshire Wildlife Trust,           No Way! Group


Mount Residents Group,             HCF Residents Group

Civic Society


None of the candidates for Shrewsbury in the last general election supported it.


The Environment Agency, English Nature and the Berwick Estate have all expressed concerns about the scheme.


Updated June 2010