Safe 38 logo


Looe Town Council are joining Towns and Parishes in South East Cornwall to declare an A38 Road Safety Emergency.

Why – this is the information from Safe38?

Following stakeholder engagement with Highways England Safe38 learnt that the current scope of the plans for improvements to the Carkeel roundabout to Trerulefoot in SE Cornwall fall wildly short of the mark for what is needed to save lives and secure livelihoods for generations to come.

The A38 is a road that has a killed and seriously injured rate over 3 times the national average for a road of its type, which operates over capacity leading to chronic congestion, cutting villages in half, impassable to the tallest vehicles, liable to heavy flooding, steep inclines and extreme bends and regular unplanned closures.

It is not fit for purpose and the current plans to address the problem fall well short of what is needed. Highways England themselves have said that a dual carriageway bypass as planned in the 1990s would be the ideal solution however they are not able to put that forward as an option to the public to be consulted on in 2022 as the Department for Transport have defined the project in such a way that prohibits this.

As part of early stakeholder engagement with Highways England we have learnt that the most Cornwall can hope for is some form of single carriageway bypass in either small sections or at very best mostly offline. We believe this to be woefully inadequate. From day one of opening such a road would do little to combat the current congestion leading to continued rat running on local roads.
The section of the A38 between Saltash and Trerulefoot makes a compelling case for investment which is why after a hard-fought battle by a multitude of stakeholders it has been identified as a section of the Strategic Road Network that is in the pipeline for improvements between 2025-2030.
A new dual carriageway bypass would boost the local and regional economy to the tune of £900m in induced economic growth securing livelihoods and will slash the collision rate saving the most amount of lives. A plan to dual this section of road was ready to go to tender in the mid-1990s but was sadly cancelled due to budget cuts.

A modern offline dual carriageway similar to the one planned in the 1990s would enable the current single carriageway section to be used as a local access road fit for buses, cyclists, pedestrians and local traffic giving South East Cornwall an integrated transport network fit for generations to come.
Furthermore, it would free Tideford and Landrake of heavy traffic, eliminate the toxic air quality in Tideford (a Cornwall Council designated Air Quality Management Area since 2011), remove congestion and unplanned closures along the route and eliminate the need for high vehicles to divert along narrow country lanes to avoid a low bridge.
Even the Dobwalls bypass that opened in 2008 which had lower daily flows than the Carkeel to Trerulefoot section was deemed to need to be built to a dual carriageway standard in order to ensure congestion was removed.

Safe38 believes the residents of Cornwall and its visitors deserve better than the current scope of proposals. It does not represent a levelling up and does not appear to be building back better. Now more than ever Cornwall needs the right investment in our infrastructure in order to ensure a safe, prosperous and healthy future for generations to come.

We believe that if Cornwall can speak with one voice on this matter we will be able to secure the investment that is needed which it has been shown can be achieved elsewhere in Cornwall such as the dualling of the A30. Only the appropriate investment will ensure that lives are saved and livelihoods are secured for this and many generations to come. We know it will take many years to develop plans to get a dual carriageway delivered but we must push for the best solution and we must push for that now.

What Looe Town Council are doing:

• We have declared  a Road Safety Emergency on the A38.
• We will be writing to our MP and the Secretary of State for Transport  to ask them to redefine this project in such a way that enables the option of a dual carriageway to be added to the options to be consulted on next year.