3 April 2013
Campaign for Better Transport has condemned today's announcement of final funding approval for the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road by the Department for Transport.
Roads Campaigner Sian Berry said:
"The decision to fund this damaging road is bad news for transport in Hastings and is an appalling use of public funds. The Department for Transport's own analysis shows that the case for building this road is poor, and we believe the decision to hand out £57 million from the DfT has been pushed through by the Chancellor and his obsession with road building. It certainly has nothing to do with a rational transport policy.
"The Bexhill-Hastings Link Road will destroy a vital area of open space for local people and wildlife in exchange for small time savings for a small number of drivers. On several nearby roads traffic and pollution will actually increase. The people of Hastings and Bexhill deserve better. The area would benefit much more from new housing and business developments close to the town centre and improvements in public transport, not traffic-generating roads.
"We hope to see the truth behind how this decision was made soon. The Information Commissioner's Office ruled last week against the Department for Transport for withholding civil servant recommendations about whether to fund the road, and ordered the information to be released by the end of this month. If the Treasury is responsible for bad transport decisions like this, it's clear that the public has a right to know."
Speaking for local campaign group the Hastings Alliance, Derrick Coffee said:
"We are hugely disappointed. That such a poor and obsessively pursued road scheme has been given funding - and entirely from the public purse in times of austerity - is extremely worrying. The Link Road is little more than a speculative development promising environmental devastation on a grand scale. It is hard to believe that the Department for Transport is 'rewarding' East Sussex County Council for progressing what is the worst current scheme of all those in England for CO2 emissions, and probably the worst in terms of value for money. The people of Bexhill and Hastings deserve better."
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).
2. The Department for Transport announced final funding approval for the road this morning: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/56-85-million-to-regenerate-bexhill-and-hastings
3. The Hastings Alliance submitted a Freedom of Information request in April 2012 asking for the DfT’s assessment of the road (http://hastingsalliance.com/). Last week the group won its complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office against the withholding of officers’ recommendations to ministers, and the Department for Transport now has until the end of April to release this information.
- Press release here: http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/files/admin/ICO_HA_press_forweb.pdf
- Full ruling from ICO and relevant documents here: http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/files/ICO%20FoI%20Appeal%20response%20260313.pdf
4. Background information about the road project: http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/campaigns/roads-to-nowhere/local-schemes/bexhill-hastings
5. Photos of senior staff from six major environmental NGOs visiting treetop protests on the site of the BHLR are available here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bettertransport/8422317671/