More than 100 set to line part of Western Link route in protest

The Western Link protest at the Norfolk Showground on the day a decision will be made. Picture: Neil

Protestors are to demonstrate on the route of the Norwich Western Link. - Credit: Neil Didsbury

Protestors against the Norwich Western Link are planning a day of action in the Wensum Valley to demonstrate against the controversial road.

Extinction Rebellion Norwich, Friends of the Earth Norwich and other organisations will hold the 'Witness the Wensum' event on Saturday, January 29.

They hope more than 100 people will take part, lining up along part of the route of the proposed £198m road to demonstrate the impact it would have on the countryside. They have permission from the landowner.

Iain Robinson's woodland where the proposed western link road would cut through at Ringland. Picture

Woodland on the route of the Western Link. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

An Extinction Rebellion spokesperson said: "We'll be coming together with lots of other movements and individuals to give a visual representation of the swathe of destruction the link road will cut through the countryside, using a drone to capture footage."

The Stop The Wensum Link group recently organised an open letter against the 3.9 mile road.

Signatories included actor and writer Stephen Fry, wildlife broadcaster Chris Packham, writer Richard Mabey, University of East Anglia professors Rupert Read, Iain Barr and Catherine Rowett as well as current and former MPs Clive Lewis and Norman Lamb.

Stephen Fry has backed the appeal and is urging others to do the same. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Stephen Fry. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

The organisers of the Witness the Wensum event hope some of those who signed the letter will join the demonstration.

Members of the public have also been invited to take part, meeting at St Peter's Church in Ringland at 10.30am.

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Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council has submitted a business case for the government to pay £168m towards the cost of the road, which would connect the Northern Distributor Road to the A47 near Easton.

Council leaders say the scheme, which would cross the River Wensum on a viaduct, will cut congestion and boost businesses.

Artist's impression of a viaduct over the River Wensum.

An artist's impression of a viaduct which would carry the Western Link over the River Wensum. Photo: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Businesses, including Norwich International Airport, Chantry Place and First buses have backed the road, as have Conservative MPs, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and Norfolk Chambers of Commerce.

But it is opposed by groups such as Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Norfolk Rivers Trust, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Bat Conservation Trust.

The route of the proposed Western Link. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

The route of the proposed Western Link. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

The council's own planning committee would make a decision on the proposals for the road, although the final round of consultation ahead of that has been delayed.