An area of woodland directly on the route of the Western Link, credit Iain Robinson

NWT reaction to conditional support for Western Link road


Monday 18 May, 2020


Norfolk Wildlife Trust is dismayed to learn that central government support has been given to the Western Link road for the Northern Distributor Road (NDR).

The planned road will link the end of the current NDR on the A1067 with the A47 near to Easton. The landscape here is a well-connected network of habitats that are important for wildlife, including ancient woodlands, grasslands and floodplains. NWT is very concerned about the potential damage by the Western Link to these important habitats and their connectivity.

The Department for Transport (DfT) gave conditional support for Norfolk County Council’s plans for the 3.8-mile Norwich Western Link road on Friday 15 May 2020 as part of its Large Local Majors funding programme. Despite the backing, the road will still need to secure planning permission and no funding has been allocated for the project. But the support does gives the council the green light to proceed to the next stage of the process.

Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Pamela Abbott said: 
“This decision should not have been made before it can be shown that the likely significant biodiversity impacts will be addressed. We will be looking closely at the information from wildlife surveys that the council is gathering this spring, and will then write to the Department for Transport stressing that it is vital that specific habitat requirements of all wildlife along the route are assessed. We will also attend the future public inquiry to make the case for nature.”

Acting Head of People and Wildlife at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, John Hiskett said:
“We estimate that the western link road will include the permanent loss of between three and four hectares of woodland. The mature trees in this woodland provide features such as holes and bark gaps, which form a key roosting habitat for the local bat population. The rarity of the species present means that these areas of woodland, along with the whole complex of woodland habitats, in the vicinity of the proposed route are likely to be of national importance. 

“It is very likely that the newly created habitat that is proposed in its place will not be of sufficient quantity or quality to support bats and other wildlife displaced from the areas lost to the road. This is exacerbated by the loss of habitat connectivity that will inevitably occur, particularly in the light of the growing evidence from other road schemes that alternatives such as bat bridges, as currently designed, are rarely effective.”

For all our Western Link and Northern Distributor Road stories and information

Share this

Top news stories

2020-10-01 Small but significant land pur Small but significant land purchase re-unites SSSI 
Thursday 01 October, 2020
Two of Norfolk’s finest wet grasslands, which sit either side of the river Wensum, are to be united, as Norfolk...
2020-09-28 The Wildlife Trusts launch £30 The Wildlife Trusts launch £30 million appeal to kickstart nature’s recovery
Monday 28 September, 2020
Today The Wildlife Trusts launch 30 by 30, a public appeal to raise £30 million to start putting nature into re...
2020-09-26 Storm damage leads to closures Storm damage leads to closures at many NWT nature reserves
Saturday 26 September, 2020
UPDATE 10/10: All sites have now re-opened. Thanks for your patience!  The strong winds and rain meant many Nor...
2020-09-25 Volunteers from Chartered Fina Volunteers from Chartered Financial Planners Clear Broads
Friday 25 September, 2020
The team at Smith & Pinching had a slightly different office for the day. Working in partnership with Norfolk Wil...
2020-09-18 Events programme to be reduced Events programme to be reduced
Friday 18 September, 2020
We are reducing the number of events this autumn as a precautionary measure and to comply with Government guidelines....
2020-09-17 Call for a new designation – W Call for a new designation – Wildbelt – to allow nature’s recovery 
Thursday 17 September, 2020
New analysis of the Government’s White Paper, Planning for the Future, has revealed that, as they currently sta...
2020-09-15 Volunteers receive warm welcom Volunteers receive warm welcome back
Tuesday 15 September, 2020
Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s volunteers do amazing things for wildlife, from surveying wild areas to improve local ...
2020-09-02 NDR Western Link: Norfolk Wild NDR Western Link: Norfolk Wildlife Trust will object
Wednesday 02 September, 2020
Norfolk Wildlife Trust will strongly object to any planning application for the Western Link and has written to the D...
2020-09-01 Biodiversity audit aims to cat Biodiversity audit aims to catalogue every wildlife species on north Norfolk coast
Tuesday 01 September, 2020
A huge biodiversity audit to catalogue the north Norfolk coast’s wildlife, in a similar way to the 2010 Brecks ...
2020-08-31 Can you find these fantastic f Can you find these fantastic finches?
Monday 31 August, 2020
This autumn we'd love you to record sightings of three finches in Norfolk: greenfinch, chaffinch and goldfinch in...
2020-08-12 Cley Calling Remotely: NWT pre Cley Calling Remotely: NWT presents new season of digital wildlife discussions
Wednesday 12 August, 2020
An autumn programme of wildlife discussions will be available to watch online for free as Norfolk Wildlife Trust welc...
2020-07-29 Illegal bike course removed fr Illegal bike course removed from SSSI
Wednesday 29 July, 2020
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has this morning removed a bike course that was illegally constructed at NWT Syderstone Common...