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Below is a collection of media reports covering our campaign and the threat to structures from the Historical Railways Estate.

How National Highways bridge infilling saga played out

National Highways bridge infilling saga reached a dramatic climax last week, when Eden District Council voted unanimously to reject the retrospective planning application for the work.

20 June 2022: New Civil Engineer

Burying of Victorian bridge in Cumbria must be reversed, says council

The government’s road agency will be forced to remove hundreds of tonnes of concrete it used to bury a Victorian bridge arch despite offering a £450,000 sweetener to allow the controversial scheme to stay.

16 June 2022: The Guardian

DfT urged to block ‘preposterous’ Great Musgrave bridge infilling application

Department for Transport under-secretary of state Baroness Vere has been urged to instruct National Highways to pull its planning application for the retention of the infill at Great Musgrave bridge in Cumbria.

16 May 2022: New Civil Engineer

Great Musgrave bridge: Hundreds object to concrete infill remaining

More than 800 people have objected to hundreds of tonnes of concrete underneath a Victorian arched bridge.

15 May 2022: BBC News

Cumbrian council may reverse concrete infilling of Victorian bridge

The UK government’s roads agency is facing hundreds of objections a week to its decision to bury a Victorian bridge arch under concrete in a move widely condemned as “cultural vandalism”.

9 May 2022: The Guardian

Eden councillors consider retrospective application for bridge infilling

Campaigners in Cumbria are urging Eden Council to refuse National Highways’ retrospective planning application to fill in a Victorian railway bridge with mass concrete.

27 April 2022: The Construction Index

Delivering benefit from our legacy assets

Nature’s reclamation of our dismantled railway network describes a delightfully melancholy intermingling, whereby wildlife and vegetation recolonise trackbeds while structures are lost to the permeative interventions of water and tree growth.

26 April 2022: Rail Engineer

Objections flood in as National Highways bids to keep controversial bridge infill

Hundreds of objections have been lodged against National Highways retrospective planning application for the controversial bridge infilling at Great Musgrave, Cumbria.

22 April 2022: New Civil Engineer

National Highways devises softer approach to bridge infilling

National Highways has promised to listen to other interests before infilling or demolishing any more redundant rail infrastructure.

20 April 2022: The Construction Index

Campaigners rally opposition to Great Musgrave Bridge infill plans

A heritage group has been raising its concerns over plans that could block a railway route.

20 April 2022: News & Star

Bridge infill work on Stoke Road still postponed as study finds that the structure should be maintained

Controversial plans to infill a bridge in the Upper Itchen Valley are still on hold, according to the national roads body.

27 March 2022: Hampshire Chronicle

50 rail bridges and tunnels could escape National Highways demolition plans

Fifty historic railway structures originally earmarked for demolition or infilling may be spared after an independent review of National Highways plans found that they could be readily preserved for active travel schemes.

15 March 2022: New Civil Engineer

Yorkshire 'greenway' plans could be threatened by highway bosses

Revolutionary plans to reopen a long-closed Yorkshire railway for walkers and cyclists could be scuppered by road bosses in what campaigners are calling an act of "cultural vandalism".

3 February 2022: Yorkshire Live

Campaigners slam National Highways for ‘crass’ Great Musgrave bridge request

Heritage railway groups have hit out at National Highways after being asked for information to help support the road operator’s retrospective planning application for the infilling of Great Musgrave bridge in Cumbria.

26 January 2022: New Civil Engineer

Infilling at Barcombe: a bridge too far!

Year end was a happy one for the Barcombe group campaigning to preserve their historic railway bridge.  On 21 December they received news that National Highways did not, after all, intend to infill the structure.

4 January 2022: Sussex Bylines

National Highways no longer intends to infill 140-year-old East Sussex bridge

National Highways has U-turned on plans to infill a 140-year-old bridge in East Sussex. It comes after months of vocal opposition to the planned infilling from local councils and community groups in Barcombe.

23 December 2021: New Civil Engineer

Fears of more ‘cultural vandalism’ of Victorian bridges in England and Scotland

Campaigners fear the roads agency is pushing ahead with plans to destroy or fill with concrete more than a dozen Victorian bridges in England and Scotland despite a government pause after an outcry over “cultural vandalism”.

13 December 2021: The Guardian

Infilling at Barcombe: a bridge too far!

Year end was a happy one for the Barcombe group campaigning to preserve their historic railway bridge.  On 21 December they received news that National Highways did not, after all, intend to infill the structure.

4 January 2022: Sussex Bylines

Bridge infilling contracts still being awarded

Campaigners challenging National Highway’s bridge infilling programme have blown the whistle on the organisation continuing to award contracts for infilling works after having promised to hold off.

17 November 2021: Construction Index

Anger after trees cut down at Barrowland Lane, Toller Porcorum

Road maintenance organisation National Highways is accused of 'coming in like a tornado' and felling trees on land next to a disused railway bridge in Barrowland Lane, Toller Porcorum.

30 October 2021: Dorset Echo

Barcombe: Campaigners fight to save disused railway bridge

Campaigners fighting to save a former railway bridge in East Sussex say destroying it would be "a wrecking ball act".

20 October 2021: BBC News

Fears raised that National Highways will embark on winter infilling spree

Engineers and transport planners fear that National Highways could embark on an "infilling spree" this winter to make up for lost time on its heritage railway programme.

27 September 2021: New Civil Engineer

National Highways and campaigners argue over future of bridges like Galebars No.1

A dispute has broken out between campaigners and National Highways over the future of historic railway structures, including the Galebars No.1 bridge near Kirkby Stephen.

17 September 2021: News & Star

Highways England locked in yet another bridge infilling row

Engineers, transport planners and the local authority have all hit out at Highways England’s proposal to infill a 156-year-old disused rail bridge in the South Downs National Park.

11 August 2021: New Civil Engineer

Britain’s Victorian railway bridges may be saved in new green travel plan

Victorian railway bridges that were due to be filled in with concrete in an act previously decried as “cultural vandalism” will be repurposed as part of a scheme to encourage walking and cycling, the UK transport secretary has announced.

30 July 2021: The Guardian

Arch enemies defeated

Boris Johnson intervenes to halt plan to fill in dozens of Victorian railway crossings with concrete.

29 July 2021: Daily Mail

Decision to fill Victorian arch with concrete branded ‘cultural vandalism’

Highways England could be made to remove hundreds of tonnes of concrete that it has used to fill in a Victorian arch after the act was branded “cultural vandalism”.

22 July 2021: The Independent

Highways England may have to reverse act of ‘cultural vandalism’

The government’s roads agency could be forced to remove hundreds of tonnes of concrete it used to fill in a Victorian railway arch in a project that was condemned as the first act of “cultural vandalism” in a nationwide plan.

21 July 2021: The Guardian

Historic Scots bridges at risk of infilling after council ‘planning blunder’

Campaigners have called on Dumfries & Galloway Council to take urgent action after a “perverse decision” by planners has threatened to make the proposed reopening of a Scottish railway more difficult and costly.

9 July 2021: New Civil Engineer

How dare bridge blockers chop my property in half!

A farmer faces losing access to a chunk of his land under plans by highways bosses to fill in an old railway bridge he uses for access.

6 July 2021: Daily Mail

Bid to fill in or demolish old railway bridges ‘by back door’, Parliament told

Attempts are being made to fill in or demolish disused railway bridges using fast-track planning powers to avoid objections, Parliament has been told.

6 July 2021: The Railway Hub

How could they destroy them?

In a reckless acts of vandalism fuelled by health and safety panic, a government agency is burying historic bridges in concrete right across the country.

5 July 2021: Daily Mail

Reprieve for old railway bridges but dozens more face ugly end

Forty-six disused railway bridges under threat of being filled in have been given a reprieve amid mounting anger over “vandalism” caused by the policy.

3 July 2021: The Times

‘Vandalism:’ Highways England slammed for pouring concrete into arches of Victorian railway bridge

A heritage group has accused Highways England of ‘vandalism’ by filling-in historic railway bridge arches with concrete and stopping them being used by walkers and cyclists.

1 July 2021: The London Economic

Highways England accused of 'vandalism' after bridge infilled with concrete

The decision to fill in the bottom of the Great Musgrave Bridge near Warcop was taken due to safety reasons, but heritage rail campaigners claim it just needed small repairs.

1 July 2021: ITV News (Border)

Highways England is accused of 'vandalism'

A heritage group has accused Highways England of 'vandalism' by filling-in historic railway bridge arches with concrete and stopping them being used by walkers and cyclists.

28 June 2021: Daily Mail

Highways England has ‘no plans’ to infill Brunel bridge unless absolutely necessary

Highways England says it has “no plans” to infill a 162-year-old Cornish bridge designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel unless it is absolutely necessary.

21 June 2021: New Civil Engineer

Council disputes 'permitted works' claim

A local authority has thrown doubt over Highways England’s controversial plans to infill a road bridge over a former railway line without planning permission.

9 June 2021: Highways

Highways England still threatening plans to reuse disused railways

Highways England's programme of bridge infilling and demolitions would thwart plans for future walking and cycle routes as well as rail reopenings, including the extension of preserved railways.

7 June 2021: Rail Engineer

Plans by Highways England to infill nearly 70 Victorian-era bridges and tunnels blocked by councils

Critics of the scheme say future plans to reuse the sites as footpaths and cycleways will be destroyed if the work goes ahead.

4 May 2021: The Telegraph

Britain’s Victorian railway heritage ‘at risk’ from plan to fill in 130 disused bridges

A plan to infill more than 130 disused railway bridges and tunnels is being blocked because of concerns over the detrimental impact on Britain’s Victorian heritage.

4 May 2021: The Times

Could Oxfordshire rail bridge restoration spark wider review of plans to demolish historic rail assets?

Highways England has confirmed plans to restore a mid-19th century rail bridge in Horspath after it was named by HRE Group as one of 24 structures at risk of demolition by the roads operator.

11 May 2021: New Civil Engineer

24 historic railway structures that face demolition or infilling by Highways England

The HRE Group has produced a report highlighting the 24 most noteworthy railway assets that face demolition or infilling under Highways England’s controversial plan.

10 May 2021: New Civil Engineer

Council rejects Highways England plans to infill heritage rail bridges

Herefordshire Council has rejected Highways England’s planning applications to infill two disused railway bridges.

28 April 2021: New Civil Engineer

Rail heritage campaigners get backing from MPs

Railway heritage campaigners have secured support from backbench MPs in their campaign to protect disused structures from Highways England’s wrecking ball.

15 April 2021: Construction Index

Bridges threat 'shows lack of joined-up thinking'

More than 10,000 people have signed an online petition objecting to Highways England’s plans to infill or demolish more than 100 disused railway bridges, which campaigners say could be needed for new rail or active travel routes.

23 February 2021: The Transport Network

Campaigners maintain pressure to save railway heritage

More than 10,000 people have signed a petition objecting to Highways England’s plans to infill or demolish more than 100 disused railway bridges.

23 February 2021: Construction Index

Langley couple's 'anger' at Highways England decision to infill historic rail bridge at the bottom of their garden

The Staward Station bridge has been targeted in the first phase of the national scheme by Highways England.

1 February 2021: Chronicle Live

Highways England accused of abusing emergency powers to demolish or infill bridges on disused railways

Campaigners say government-owned company's actions put plans for active travel routes at risk.

1 February 2021: road.cc

Fury at 10-year 'brutal vandalism' plan to destroy British rail bridges and tunnels

Campaigners and heritage fans have been left steaming over the plans that could see 480 structures pulled down, with many crossing old lines loved by ramblers.

9 January 2021: The Mirror

Historic Scottish rail bridges being filled in ‘blocks future cycle routes’

The potential conversion of old railway lines into cycle and walking routes is being blocked by plans to infill more than 100 bridges, including more than 20 in Scotland, campaigners have claimed.

8 January 2021: The Scotsman

Campaigners battle to save old rail structures

Railway heritage enthusiasts are campaigning against plans to demolish or infill long-abandoned rail bridges and tunnels.

6 January 2021: Construction Index

Highways England accused of demolishing bridges that could link people-powered rail trails

Hundreds of potentially useful disused railway structures are threatened with destruction by government agency Highways England, argues an alliance of engineers, active travel campaigners and greenway developers.

5 January 2021: Forbes

About Us

The HRE Group is an alliance of walking, cycling and heritage campaigners, engineers and greenway developers who regard the Historical Railways Estate’s structures to be strategically valuable in the context of building a better future.

Last updated 28 June 2022
© 2022 The HRE Group