The Norwich Western Link road will cut five minutes off journey times for motorists travelling between the A47 and the Northern Distributor Road, new documents reveal.

Council papers show that as well as shaving the time off for drivers who currently have to use the B1535, the proposed 3.9 mile road would also reduce rat-running through villages such as Weston Longville and Ringland by 88pc to 95pc.

However, the reports drawn up by Norfolk County Council also acknowledge that the £274 million route will have "significant adverse effects" on more than 300 acres of countryside.

The route of the Norwich Western LinkThe route of the Norwich Western Link (Image: Norfolk County Council)

The new details are revealed in documents the council has produced to support its application - to its own planning committee - for the hugely controversial road.

While the council lodged the application in April, the associated documents, which include environmental assessments and transport analysis, have only just been published.

Organisations such as the Norfolk Wildlife Trust have previously expressed concern over the impact of the scheme, which includes a viaduct over the Wensum Valley, on wildlife habitats.

The council's own documents reveal 309 acres would suffer "adverse significant effects", although the authority says mitigation, such as green bridges, would be provided.

A visualisation of the Norwich Western LinkA visualisation of the Norwich Western Link (Image: Norfolk County Council)

Barbastelle bats are known to roost along the route.

Natural England indicated, when giving pre-application advice to the council, that County Hall would be unlikely to be awarded a special licence needed to do anything which might disturb or harm the bats.

But the council has pushed ahead with lodging the application. People and organisations now have five weeks to comment on them at

Critics have said that is not long enough and is in the middle of the general election period.

David PettDavid Pett (Image: David Pett)

David Pett, lawyer for the Stop the Wensum Link campaign group, said: "The Wensum Link road project has faced mounting resistance from local communities and environmental groups.

"It will now be met with renewed opposition as the planning application is officially unveiled."

And there are calls for the government to intervene to take the decision out of Conservative-controlled County Hall's hands.

A visualisation of the Norwich Western Link viaductA visualisation of the Norwich Western Link viaduct

John Martin, a retired solicitor from Holt, has lodged a request for the secretary of state to 'call-in' the application.

The secretary of state has the power to direct the local planning authority to refer an application to them for a decision - as happened with revamp plans for Anglia Square in Norwich.