SnOasis could be good for environment

A TRANSPORT expert has claimed SnOasis will actually be better for the environment as winter sport enthusiasts choose Suffolk rather than flying abroad.

A TRANSPORT expert has claimed SnOasis will actually be better for the environment as winter sport enthusiasts choose Suffolk rather than flying abroad.

Andrew Jenkinson, a highways engineer appearing on behalf of developers during day six of the public inquiry into the massive Suffolk development, believes it will be more convenient for holiday-makers than other distant ski resorts.

If the scheme gets the go-ahead it will include a ski-slope, a four star 350-bed hotel, 350 chalets, 100 apartments and many new jobs at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich.

It is part of a wider construction project including 421 new homes, doubling the size of the village, and a new railway station.

Mr Jenkinson, who was appearing at the inquiry in Ipswich's Corn Exchange yesterday, said: “There are few opportunities for skiing on real snow in the UK.

“SnOasis will offer an opportunity for winter sport enthusiasts to replace a visit to a ski resort abroad with a visit to SnOasis.

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“As a high proportion of journeys to ski resorts are by plane, substituting such a trip with one to SnOasis would represent a significant reduction in environmental impact due to travel.

“Clearly not every visit to the Suffolk resort would replace a trip abroad and it may even attract some people from abroad to visit England.

“However, the extent to which trips abroad are replaced is likely to increase over time as the real environmental costs of travel are borne more and more by the traveller.”

Transport expert Mr Jenkinson also outlined a package of improvements to the road network that could be brought in with the project, as well as a new £15 million railway station and bus services and traffic calming measures in Sproughton.

But William Upton, acting for opponents SnOasis Community Alliance, has already raised concerns about the amount of energy needed to create an artificial ski slope, questioning whether it is sensible to use natural resources to build a 365-day refrigerator for skiers.

The inquiry, which the Government ordered after Mid Suffolk District Council gave the scheme the go ahead, is due to last six weeks.

It continues today with the inspector expected to hear more about the transport issues, as well as planning matters connected with SnOasis, before resuming again on Tuesday.

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