Traffic congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough

Information about work being done to investigate solutions to congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough.


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 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 will 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 summer 2017. In December 2017, we then published an options assessment report (OAR) setting out the potential ways that the congestion problem could be tackled.

Stage one report

Options appraisal report

Since December 2017, following a decision by the corporate director of business and environmental services, we have been working with a project team from consultants WSP, to further develop and refine our options. This will allow us to make a recommendation to elected members in the autumn of 2018 when we will publish an addendum to December's options assessment report.

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.

Next steps

The addendum to the options assessment report will be complete in autumn 2018, after which results will be reported to elected members. We will seek 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.

This is likely to be carried out in early 2019 and we will decide which options to develop further based on the results.