The need for a bypass around Hertford was first discussed in the 1980s.

In 1990, the then local MP, Bowen-Wells, called for a bypass around the town and in September of the same year, East Herts District Council asked the County Council to include a bypass in it's plans.

A £20m southern bypass connecting the A414 at Hertingfordbury with the dual-carriageway at Foxholes was proposed. A northern bypass was also considered but there was no obvious route.

However, the plans ran into strong opposition on environmental grounds and in October 1994 the plans were formerly rejected by the County Council's environment committee.

Since then, congestion has increased, and measures to deal with increasing traffic have not stemmed the 35,000 vehicles now using Gascoyne Way.

At the beginning of 2005 it emerged that planners were again discussing the possibility of a bypass, this time at a cost of £28. However, the plans went no further.

The Hertford & Ware Urban Transport Plan of 2010 suggested a bypass could be discussed when the plan is reviews around 2015. It states: "Should a bypass scheme gain support, implementation would be subject to funding and satisfactorily resolving other aspects such as establishing suitable routes and mitigating the impacts of any proposals.

Local Transport Plan

In the Autumn of 2016 Hertfordshire County Council published a consultation document on a new Local Transport Plan for the county. The document included discussion of a new bypass for Hertford with a potential implementation date between 2021 and 2031, and costed at around £175m (later revised to £250-500m).

The document highlights the fact that congestion on the A414 through Hertford is constraining the level of housing growth, as well as air quality issues and severence issues between the town centre and the south of the town.

The report states: "A large proportion of the traffic on the A414 in peak periods is passing through the town (in the AM peak around 40% of westbound and 36% of eastbound traffic)".

The draft Local Transport Plan published in November 2017 made further mention of a bypass:

"The scheme would be delivered in conjunction with the Sustainable Travel Town proposal for the town, which would utilise traffic reductions and road space no longer needed in the town to deliver significant improvements in walking, cycling and passenger transport provision.The scheme is needed because traffic levels and congestion on the A414 through the town limits further growth of the town, which would otherwise result in a severe deterioration in journey times and reliability, and the further deterioration in the quality of the urban environment.The scheme should enable further growth of Hertford beyond that currently included in the emerging East Hertfordshire Local Plan. This should be a consideration in the further development of the scheme given its potential to strengthen the case for the scheme and fund its delivery. As with other Sustainable Travel Towns this scheme also provides the potential for greater housing density and car free development in the town, which should also be a consideration in Local Plan development. The scheme will be investigated further as part of the A414 Corridor Strategy."

Reference to a bypass also appears in the East Herts District Plan: " Mitigating measures will help ameliorate congestion, particularly on the A414, where a bypass of the town and reassignment of one existing carriageway lane in each direction would enable prioritisation of sustainable transport modes and the ability for Hertford to become a Sustainable Travel Town".

The Local Transport Plan was finally adopted in May 2018.


The existing relief road and associated duel carriageways run close to built up areas and this can lead to unacceptable levels of pollution. A bypass would take traffic away from these built up areas thereby improving air quality. However, Hertford Civic Society have argued that a bypass would lead to further new homes and generate increased traffic. Commenting on talk of a bypass they comment: "... the tract of land that would then be enclosed [by the bypass] would almost immediately start to be filled in with new housing, which would generate further traffic and more pollution".

A414 Consultation

Following the adoption of the Local Transport Plan in 2018, a consultation is planned on improvements to the A414 corridor, includes a bypass around Hertford and a Mass Rapid Trasport system.

Local Transport Plan 2018 (opens in a new window)

In February 2019, Hertford Town Council voiced its opposition to a bypass following a meeting of the Development & Leisure Committee, saying that the council "has no enthusiasm for a bypass of Hertford, and cannot support the provision of a Hertford bypass at present due to the lack of detailed information that would enable the matter to be considered properly.".

(Picture shows Hertingfordbury bypass just west of Hertford, close to where any future Hertford bypass may intersect.)

This article was last updated on 27th April 2019.