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Below are the press releases we have published since the start of the campaign in January 2021.

Cumbrian bridge works challenged as infill removal cost is revealed

Campaigners have voiced concerns about damaged stonework and poor repairs at a historic railway bridge in Cumbria which National Highways exhumed last year at an “eyewatering” cost to the taxpayer.

8 February 2024: PDF (53kB)

Spring deadline to restore buried Norfolk bridge

National Highways has until 10 April 2024 to remove more than a thousand tonnes of stone and concrete used to bury a historic railway structure.

12 December 2023: PDF (51kB)

Cumbria’s historic “overloaded” bridge to reopen without strengthening

A Victorian railway bridge in Cumbria’s Eden Valley, which National Highways infilled amidst claims it was weak, is set to reopen without a weight restriction or any form of strengthening being needed.

12 October 2023: PDF (54kB)

Norfolk bridge awaits its fate after “harmful” infilling

National Highways has “misrepresented” evidence about a historic railway bridge in Norfolk, according to campaigners, as a council planning committee prepares to determine its future.

25 September 2023: PDF (53kB)

Cumbrian bridge emerges from infill “vandalism”

Community groups have welcomed work to restore a historic railway bridge in Cumbria’s Eden valley following its controversial infilling in 2021.

21 August 2023: PDF (53kB)

Community feeling “bullied” as Cumbrian bridge closure looms

Locals have accused National Highways of failing to consult affected businesses as it prepares to close a historic railway bridge for three months whilst it removes infill from around it.

10 July 2023: PDF (54kB)

"Unacceptable" bridge closure divides Cumbrian community for months

Locals have expressed shock and anger after signs for a 13-week road closure were placed in their village as National Highways prepares to remove 1,600 tonnes of stone and concrete from a historic railway bridge.

3 July 2023: PDF (53kB)

Battle stations over Norfolk’s unauthorised bridge infill

The future of a historic railway bridge should be known within weeks after National Highways submitted a retrospective planning application for what campaigners describe as the structure’s “destructive burial”.

21 May 2023: PDF (54kB)

“Missed opportunity” as National Highways rejects request for stone from infilled bridge

A heritage railway whose extension plans were dented by National Highways’ infilling of a historic bridge has expressed disappointment after the company refused its request to make use of some of the infill material when it’s removed later this year to comply with a planning enforcement notice.

13 March 2023: PDF (53kB)

Council acts as rights breached on ‘emergency’ Norfolk bridge infill

National Highways’ strategy of using permitted development rights to carry out destructive works to historic railway structures is “unravelling”, say campaigners, after a third local authority told it to apply for retrospective planning permission for an infilling scheme.

25 January 2023: PDF (56kB)

Rare Norfolk bridge lost to “destructive forces”

National Highways has “failed to fulfil its statutory obligations”, according to campaigners, after it infilled a historic bridge using permitted development rights that have now expired.

9 January 2023: PDF (54kB)

Council acts as rights expire on emergency bridge infill

National Highways has been told to apply for retrospective planning permission after failing to fulfil its statutory obligations under powers used to infill a historic railway structure.

20 December 2022: PDF (56kB)

Yorkshire bridge not inspected before emergency infill scheme

National Highways has been accused of “decision-making by guesswork” after claiming that a historic railway bridge had to be infilled because of a growing public safety risk despite having no recent records of its condition.

5 December 2022: PDF (54kB)

Campaigners challenge emergency bridge work

Schemes to infill four historic bridges now have “questionable legal status”, according to campaigners, as the emergency development powers used to undertake them have expired.

2 November 2022: PDF (55kB)

Minister asked to intervene as report exposes bridge infill failings

National Highways should be forced to remove infill from a historic Cumbrian bridge after a detailed engineering study found the structure to be in fair condition and required no repairs, according to campaigners.

16 May 2022: PDF (62kB)

Bridge emergency “deceit” exposed

Campaigners have revealed how National Highways was routinely attempting to exploit emergency development powers to force through the infilling of legacy rail bridges, most of which were in good condition.

9 May 2022: PDF (56kB)

Engineers reject bridge infill “emergency”

Two experienced civil engineers have criticised the infilling of a historic railway bridge which its custodian claimed might fail and collapse.

26 April 2022: PDF (52kB)

Campaigners rally opposition to bridge infill “vandalism”

Plans to link two Cumbrian heritage railways could be sunk unless objectors convince a local council to reject a planning application to make the infilling of a Victorian bridge permanent.

14 April 2022: PDF (52kB)

Report reveals active travel potential of at-risk historic bridges

Campaigners have welcomed a report which identifies the potential walking and cycling value of 50 Victorian bridges earmarked for “destruction” by National Highways.

16 March 2022: PDF (54kB)

Bridge infill threat to ambitious greenway vision

Prospects for an active travel route connecting the former Yorkshire coalfields with the east coast will diminish if National Highways infills two legacy rail bridges along its route, campaigners have warned.

1 February 2022: PDF (53kB)

Campaigners condemn “crass” bridge request

When National Highways buried an elegant stone arch bridge in a thousand tonnes of aggregate and concrete, it tore up longstanding plans to establish a link between two heritage railways in Cumbria’s Eden Valley.

24 January 2022: PDF (54kB)

Anger as bridge fencing blocks wildlife corridor

Residents of an Oxfordshire village are up in arms after “ugly” steel fencing was erected around a historic railway bridge, blocking a wildlife corridor and forcing deer onto a busy road.

17 January 2022: PDF (53kB)

Ecology studies “vital” at bridges threatened with infilling

Campaigners have asked a Minister to commission audits of the ecology around dozens of historic railway bridges before work to infill them is allowed to proceed.

12 January 2022: PDF (52kB)

Infill threat lifted from historic bridge

Campaigners have welcomed National Highways’ commitment to reprieve a historic railway bridge in East Sussex following robust opposition from the community and local council.

22 December 2021: PDF (58kB)

“Underhand” bridge works progressed despite Government’s infill pause

National Highways awarded 14 contracts in five weeks as preparatory works gather pace to infill or demolish dozens of Victorian bridges, despite Ministers pausing the schemes in July.

13 December 2021: PDF (61kB)

Engineers reject National Highways’ bridge infilling claims

Experienced civil engineers have dismissed National Highways’ assertion that a historic railway bridge in East Sussex needs to be infilled because its condition is now “dangerous”.

23 November 2021: PDF (54kB)

Bridge infill contract awarded despite Government’s programme pause

Campaigners have challenged National Highways over the award of a contract to infill a historic railway bridge despite the Government putting all schemes on hold two weeks earlier.

16 November 2021: PDF (54kB)

National Highways “wilfully ignore” community bridge concerns

Campaigners have condemned National Highways for its failure to recognise the historical, ecological and environmental consequences of its plans to infill a legacy railway structure.

9 November 2021: PDF (55kB)

Locals furious as bridge scheme prompts unauthorised tree-felling

National Highways “came in like a tornado”, according to a landowner, when its contractor entered their property and cut down trees without permission to make way for a bridge demolition.

25 October 2021: PDF (50kB)

Community fights back against bridge “sabotage”

Residents of an East Sussex village have sent a letter to National Highways protesting against plans to infill a historic bridge over a wildlife corridor.

18 October 2021: PDF (53kB)

MP intervenes as bridge scheme descends into “farce”

Campaigners have accused National Highways of “deceit” over plans to bury a historic bridge in a thousand tonnes of aggregate and concrete, blocking a wildlife corridor.

12 October 2021: PDF (51kB)

“Wrecking-ball act” threatens future of historic bridge

Unrest is brewing in an East Sussex village over National Highways’ plan to infill a historic railway bridge within a conservation area.

5 October 2021: PDF (53kB)

National Highways: “existential threat” to legacy rail structures

Campaigners have accused National Highways of using “smoke and mirrors” to hide the true extent of its plans to infill or demolish potentially hundreds of historic railway structures.

7 September 2021: PDF (55kB)

Highways England acting like “cowboys and bullies” over bridge scheme

The Chief Executive of the South Downs National Park says his Authority will “resist this vandalism” after Highways England confirmed plans to infill an old railway bridge needed for a proposed active travel route.

9 August 2021: PDF (55kB)

Pressure mounts on Highways England as councils push back against bridge “vandalism”

Council officials have told Highways England that it must seek retrospective planning permission after infilling a Victorian bridge which two heritage railways need for a connecting line between their operations.

22 July 2021: PDF (51kB)

Minister condemned over “embarrassing” bridge deceit

Campaigners have accused a Government Minister of a “comprehensive misrepresentation of the facts” in a letter she wrote to the House of Commons Transport Committee.

21 July 2021: PDF (53kB)

Scottish bridges under threat after council’s “planning blunder”

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

7 July 2021: PDF (53kB)

Highways England slammed over bridge “preservation” claim

Campaigners have expressed their disbelief after Highways England claimed to have “preserved” a Victorian railway bridge by burying it within hundreds of tonnes of aggregate and concrete.

29 June 2021: PDF (51kB)

Cumbrian railways seek reparation in Highways England bridge row

Two heritage railways in Cumbria, whose plans to unite have been thrown into doubt by Highways England infilling an old railway bridge, have asked the company to undo the work or fund the structure’s excavation and repair.

23 June 2021: PDF (49kB)

“Deceit” exposed as Highways England scales back bridge works

Campaigners have accused Highways England of “industrial-scale dishonesty” after it reprieved 47 Victorian bridges it was planning to infill over supposed safety concerns.

21 June 2021: PDF (54kB)

“Cultural vandalism” as Highways England targets Brunel bridge

A bridge engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel is earmarked for infilling as part of a Highways England scheme that threatens the future of dozens of disused railway structures.

14 June 2021: PDF (51kB)

Highways England acting “dishonestly” in Cumbria bridge row

Work to infill a 159-year-old railway bridge in Cumbria is continuing despite objectors claiming that Highways England “has contrived an alternative reality” to drive through the scheme.

8 June 2021: PDF (52kB)

Cumbrian railways unite against “destructive” bridge scheme

Supporters of two heritage railways in Cumbria have been lobbying council officials and their local MP over the infilling of a bridge that is needed for a planned link between their lines.

1 June 2021: PDF (51kB)

Highways England’s bridge plans “could scupper” rail schemes

Rail groups have criticised Highways England over a bridge infilling programme which threatens the viability of reopening routes and extending heritage lines.

25 May 2021: PDF (52kB)

Councils push back against bridge infilling programme

Highways England’s plans to infill or demolish 130 legacy railway structures are coming under increasing pressure from local authorities opposed to the negative heritage, ecological and transport impacts that are likely to result.

28 April 2021: PDF (52kB)

MPs raise concerns over Highways England’s ‘assault’ on legacy rail structures

The House of Commons Transport Committee has intervened in a row over Highways England’s intention of infilling or demolishing hundreds of disused railway structures, many of which have the potential to play roles in future sustainable transport schemes.

14 April 2021: PDF (51kB)

Objectors question DfT’s response to bridge ‘assault’

Campaigners fighting to prevent hundreds of disused railway structures being demolished or infilled, despite many having potential value for future rail and active travel schemes, have challenged the Department for Transport’s “deficient” response to their concerns.

24 March 2021: PDF (52kB)

Campaigners rally against railway heritage threat

Ten thousand people have signed a petition objecting to Highways England’s plans to infill or demolish more than a hundred disused railway bridges, many of which could be needed for future rail or active travel routes.

22 February 2021: PDF (52kB)

Cycle paths and rail projects under threat from Highways England’s heritage ‘assault’

Proposals for cycle routes, railway reopenings and heritage line extensions are all in jeopardy after campaigners revealed a secret Highways England plan to infill or demolish more than a hundred disused railway structures.

1 February 2021: PDF (54kB)

“Fear and ignorance” driving Highways England’s assault on railway heritage

Campaigners have condemned Highways England over plans to infill more than a hundred potentially useful railway bridges that have failed an assessment they are not required to pass.

14 January 2021: PDF (51kB)

Railway heritage at risk from Highways England’s “wrecking ball”

Hundreds of potentially useful disused railway structures are threatened with demolition or infilling by Highways England under plans described by one campaigner as “finishing off what Dr Beeching started”.

5 January 2021: PDF (54kB)

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 21 June 2024
© 2024 The HRE Group