Winterwatch presenter Chris Packham urges people to join Western Link demo

Chris Packham on the set of Winterwatch at Wild Ken Hill in Snettisham. Picture: Danielle Booden

BBC Winterwatch presenter Chris Packham. - Credit: Danielle Booden

TV naturalist Chris Packham has urged people in Norfolk to join protest action against plans for the £198m Norwich Western Link road.

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

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

And Mr Packham, who has been filming the BBC's Winterwatch at Old Ken Hill in Norfolk, has called for people to attend the event.

He tweeted: "C'mon Norfolk... let's get this project binned! If you're in the area this Saturday and have a bit of time, get on down.

"We don't need more road projects that only serve to drive up private car use - invest in green transport solutions instead."

The organisers of the protest hope more than 100 people will take part in Saturday's event, lining up along part of the route of the proposed road to demonstrate the impact it would have on the countryside, including the Wensum Valley.

Mr Packham was one of the signatories to a recent open letter against Norfolk County Council's proposed 3.9 mile road, along with Stephen Fry plus current and former MPs Clive Lewis and Norman Lamb.

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 A1067 near the Northern Distributor Road to the A47 near Easton.

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

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

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.

Costessey Town Council member Gary Blundell.

Costessey Town Council member Gary Blundell. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Two petitions over the road have been set up. Gary Blundell, a town councillor in Costessey created one up in support of the road last week. It had been signed by 2,600 as Tuesday (January 25) afternoon.

One set up by the Stop The Wensum Link group two years ago has more than 6,200 signatures.