SIR: I completely agree with the editorial you wrote about Highways England (HE) plans for M3 junction 9 (Chronicle, June 3).

The plans are even more elaborate than they were at the last consultation, and, extravagantly, almost every part of the proposal has been redesigned. HE have even added a whole additional network of roads and roundabouts for safe access to the A33. To make room they have demoted the cycleway to Kings Worthy to a footpath, distressingly in the A34 central reservation isolated between traffic flows, and have removed horse riders from a bridleway to the east of the junction. Cyclists on National Cycle Route 23 will be forced down a steep hill through a hole beneath the motorway, a gathering ground for poisonous carbon monoxide and particulate matter, and up a steep hill on the other side. The cost could now reaches £175m.

You are right to suggest that there are better ways to get rid of the congestion. We could transfer most long-distance road container freight from Southampton Docks to an improved electrified railway from Southampton to the Midlands through Oxford. This is the best way to decarbonise heavy road freight. We could transfer freight distribution from national distribution centres in the centre of England to local rail-based distribution points served by fast trains. We could improve all local bus services by using government funds on offer to bring in a fleet of battery-electric double deckers to improve comfort, frequency, connections, and reduce fares. We could draw motorway commuters away from the M3 if we improved the local train services, and introduced good connections with buses.

As you say, more and bigger roads bring in more traffic. The jams come back in no time. Transport produces almost 60 per cent of Winchester’s carbon footprint. The new roads will be very expensive, but in a more profound way it is the greenhouse gas emissions they produce that we simply cannot afford. It is already almost impossible to avoid fatal levels of global heating. We must stop HA motoring on with their misconceived plans.

Phil Gagg,

St Swithun Street,