Traffic congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough

The 12-week public engagement about the impact of congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough has ended.

The engagement ran from Monday, 15 April, until Monday, 8 July

We asked for your views on congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough and what measures you would support being taken forward to address it.

There was a questionnaire and five public exhibitions to allow people to view information on the proposals.

The public engagement followed a study by consultants commissioned by us to look into congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough, and then to consider its impact and how it can be addressed.


Work on tackling congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough has a long history. In the 1990s, we developed plans for a Harrogate and Knaresborough relief road, which resulted in the adoption of preferred alignments for both a northern and western relief road. Plans for the western alignment were later cancelled, but the northern alignment is still currently an ‘approved’ route. 

Since that time, due to various changes in government policy, and the availability of funding, neither of those alignments have been built. As a result of ongoing traffic congestion, we are now reviewing the original plans for the northern alignment.

Recent proposals

In 2014, at the request of the County Area Committee for the Harrogate District, work began on the review. To begin with, this was focussed mainly on considering whether any of the historic road alignments were fit for purpose.

Since then, the scope of the study has widened to become a ‘congestion study’ which has been used to consider a range of options, beyond the initial ‘relief road review’ approach.

A stage one report setting out background information on the need for intervention was published in the summer of 2017. In December 2017, we published an options assessment report (OAR) setting out the potential ways that the congestion problem could be tackled.

Stage one report

Options assessment report

In December 2017 we started to further develop and refine our options in order to produce an Options Assessment Report Addendum.

As part of this work on further development of options, an engagement group for the project has been set up, to check and challenge the approach and conclusions of the study.

The  terms of reference and membership of the group can be found here (pdf / 128 KB), along with materials and notes from the meetings.

A second meeting with the engagement group was held where members of the group had the opportunity to input into the interventions WSP are working on. This session was held in a workshop style session, so there are no available meeting minutes. The findings from the workshop will be presented at the final meeting of the engagement group.

A third and final meeting was held with the engagement group in September. This session was used to provide feedback from WSP and the engagement group on the next steps for the project.

Following this work in November 2018 we published our  Options Assessment Report Addendum (OARA) which can be seen here (pdf / 12 MB).

Current position

The addendum to the options assessment report was complete in autumn 2018, after which results were reported to elected members. We sought approval from the Executive to carry out a large scale public consultation on the options for congestion relief, based on the findings of the report.