Berkshire

East Reading Mass Rapid Transit plan approved

ERMT Image copyright Reading Borough Council
Image caption Artist's impression of the riverside path adjacent to the new route

A £20m plan aiming to ease congestion in Reading has been approved despite opponents arguing it will cause significant environmental damage.

Council officials say the East Reading Mass Rapid Transit - a bus, pedestrian and cycle route linking a new park-and-ride site to the town centre - will discourage cars from busy roads.

The council was made to revise its original plans after a consultation.

However, opponents say it will have minimal impact on traffic.

The dedicated bus, pedestrian and cycle route will link a new park-and-ride site to the town centre.

'Faster route'

The proposal was originally submitted in July 2017 but environmental groups expressed concerns about the loss of trees and risk of flooding.

John Sharpe, from the campaign group Save Our Ancient Riverside, said: "In their [Reading Borough Council] own estimates, they mention 1-3% reduction to congestion.

"Nevertheless, the total number of vehicles coming into Reading increases and, as a result, the already very poor air quality in Reading will get worse."

Work on the route could begin in early 2019.

Reading borough councillor Tony Page said: "This will enable us to avoid traffic jams and get hundreds of thousands of people into and out of the centre of Reading every day in a sustainable way, using our cleanest and greenest bus fleet."

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