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‘A46 Expressway – the Road to Ruin’ says CPRE

18th March 2019

In a new report, ‘Leicester A46 Expressway – The Road to Ruin’, CPRE Leicestershire argued that the proposal is fundamentally flawed.

Issued in advance of the protest meeting held on 4th April at the Coplow Centre in Billesdon, it sets out CPRE’s case against the proposed expressway plan and related developments.

The plan for an expressway to the east and south of Leicester, together with 38,000 new houses, is the central element of the Leicester and Leicestershire Strategic Growth Plan (SGP), which was endorsed by all of the principal councils last autumn.

Plan is ‘fundamentally flawed’

In the report, CPRE argues that the proposals are “fundamentally flawed”. Far from resolving the transport problems around Leicester, this proposal is likely to exacerbate them even more in the longer term. It will act as a catalyst for more housing in the open countryside and yet more traffic going into Leicester. The SGP fails to address the resulting congestion within and into Leicester by providing sustainable public transport alternatives to car travel.

While not resolving transport problems, the plan will do great and irreparable harm to the high-quality countryside around the east of Leicester.

The expressway plan won’t work

Leicester’s traffic problems are not simply a problem of one route, but are a network problem which requires solutions across the whole network.

There is strong evidence that building new road infrastructure increases traffic. This is partly because of extra traffic that would result from new developments along a route.  In addition, a new road facilitates additional traffic growth, for example, encouraging commuters to travel from further afield.

The report argues:

‘Building a new A46 Expressway round Leicester would facilitate additional traffic growth. It would encourage commuting into Leicester from further away, with traffic using the radial routes from the expressway into Leicester. Congestion on these routes would inevitably increase as a result of this new road, even if the road itself could be kept free-flowing despite all the development around it.’

Despite these obvious facts, Leicestershire County Council has failed to take account of additional traffic that would be generated by building this road in its assessments. It has not, to our knowledge, undertaken work to assess whether the radial routes from the expressway could cope with the additional pressures the road (and the adjacent housing) would bring.

A new approach is needed

The report calls for a strategy to address the transport issues in Leicester which aims to reduce the level of car dependency in and around the city, firstly through public transport interventions, and second, through specific improvements on existing roads.

Please Help CPRE

Producing reports and marshalling evidence is costly and time consuming. You can help us to continue questioning the plans, by donating to our funds, joining CPRE or our SGP Task Group. If you are interested, please email:

A46 briefing document

Map showing the proposed A46 Expressway corridor
Map showing the proposed A46 Expressway corridor