‘RAPING OF THE ENVIRONMENT’ - Farmer despairs over A30 plan that will run through his fields
27th January 2021
By Matt Dixon
An eighth generation farmer near Truro says the government is “raping the environment” with its A30 dualling scheme between Carland Cross and Chiverton roundabout. The development of a new expressway on part of the eight-mile stretch will have a significant effect on Nancarrow Farm, which has been in Peter Mewton’s family for almost 250 years.
He told the Voice: “It occupies my thoughts all the time. It is very, very sad. We have been an organic farm for many years but they don’t take any account of that. “It is profligate taking of land – the government has got to stop raping the enivronment, but they just carry on. I’m pretty despondent about the future.”
Nancarrow is a 100-acre Soil Association-certified organic farm in a south-facing valley, which falls into the parish of St Allen, near Zelah. Peter said that although the road alterations have been described as a “dualling”, an entirely new “expressway” akin to a motorway was being built, which would run through his fields.
“Since the proposal was announced in 2016, I have had to make changes to my life. I was going to convert an outbuilding into a house to live in, but I haven’t been able to do that now.
“The road runs within yards of the cattle shed so that will affect calving and lambing seasons. It’s going to be absolute chaos with the roadworks for three years. My grandchildren (aged 10 and 3) will grow up watching noise and upheaval, with stuff being destroyed including carbon sequestration.”
Peter, who will lose eight acres, accepts that it is too late to affect a U-turn on the scheme, which is being undertaken by Highways England. The £330 million upgrade includes a dual carriageway with two-level junctions and new roundabouts at both Chiverton Cross and Carland Cross; a new partial two-level junction at Chybucca, with west-facing slip roads providing access from local routes; new local access bridges at Tolgroggan Farm, Pennycomequick Lane and over the Allet-to-Tresawsen road; and keeping the existing A30 as a local route with new sections where necessary.
Peter wants to raise awareness to avoid a similar situation happening elsewhere. “I have to distract myself with activity. It is so pointless and naïve – the plan was agreed in 2016 before a state of climate emergency was declared – but they won’t listen now because they don’t want to have to go back on work they’ve already done.”
His partner Lucy Trinder, an artist from Camborne, is hosting weekly protests near the site. She has started a pressure group on facebook called “These fields have names. Chiverton to Carland A30 Expressway walks”, which already has more than 300 followers. She is planning to walk to London to make her point and is also forming a 100- strong choir to perform an online song written by Hilary Coleman, which names all the surrounding fields.
Josh Hodder, senior project manager for the A30 Chiverton to Carland Cross scheme, said: “We’ve worked with and listened to local communities throughout the consultation and planning process, and we will continue to engage with local landowners, residents and other interested parties throughout the construction phrase of the project.
“We began developing and refining plans for the scheme in 2014, and since that time, local, regional and national stakeholders have had an opportunity to influence this important part of the road network. Informed by a wealth of feedback, the design of the road has been carried out in the most sympathetic way for both local people, the travelling public and the environment.
“Extensive environmental studies and assessments have taken place and we have been adding to this work with further ground investigation work to ensure we have the most up-to-date information of the conditions.”