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Eyecatching protest to oppose plans for A69

Protestors call for the scrapping of a scheme for the A69 Photo: ITV News Tyne Tees

Protestors from the environmental campaign Extinction Rebellion held up giant pants as part of a demonstration in Hexham against a proposed scheme to improve traffic flows on the A69.

The group is opposing the £30m project for two roundabouts - Bridge End, north of Hexham and Styford, near Corbridge.

Highways England has proposed the building of an underpass at the Bridge End roundabout, aimed at reducing congestion and cutting journey times on the trans-Pennine route which links Tyneside with Carlisle.

Today, the Tynedale branch of Extinction Rebellion gathered in the shadow of Hexham Abbey with the message 'Underpants to the Underpass'.

The group is calling for money earmarked for the scheme to be used instead on what it calls sustainable transport options, such as cycle routes.

We don't want more traffic. We don't want more fossil fuel transport. We want people to consider not investing more in fossil fuels but now consider investing money into sustainable transport options.

– Carolin Blaske, Tynedale Extinction Rebellion

It is a global issue and all people around the globe need to be engaging with it. I think we have a tendency sometimes in Hexham to think 'we're a little market town, we can't do anything'. Actually by not doing something, that in itself is an act.

– Dr Gill Turner, Tynedale Extinction Rebellion
A pair of giant pants with a message from protesters Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees
Bridge End roundabout on the A69 Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

In response to the protest, the Department for Transport told us:

Investment in active travel has doubled to around £2 billion over this Spending Review period and our landmark Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy in 2017 will help make cycling and walking the natural choice for shorter journeys or as part of a longer journey.

Alongside all this, the work planned on the A69 will ease congestion and improve safety for the thousands of road users who use the route every day.

– Department fort Transport

The A69 junction improvement plan, which aim to create eighteen miles of free flowing dual carriageway, has already met opposition from some local people who believe that other sections of the route are in greater need of safety improvements.