Highways England plans to infill or demolish around 130 disused railways structures over the next five years, many of which are earmarked for reuse as part of reopened railways, heritage line extensions or greenways for active travel.
The state-owned roads company manages the Historical Railways Estate of 3,200 bridges, viaducts and tunnels on behalf of the Department for Transport.
According to campaigners, the infilling programme conflicts with Government policies to encourage sustainable forms of transport and pulls the rug from under communities trying to build a better future.
The affected structures are mostly in good condition and showing no signs of distress, but Highways England says they have failed assessments to carry 44-tonne wagons.
An online petition against the plans has so far been signed by more than 12,000 people.