12 March 2012
Leaders of green groups have written to the Secretary of State for Transport urging her not to approve the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road on the basis it would do huge irreparable environmental damage without delivering the local regeneration claimed by road’s promoters.
Campaign for Better Transport, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Greenpeace UK, Friends of the Earth, Hastings Alliance, Sussex Wildlife Trust and Sussex Countryside Trust have written to Justine Greening urging her not to approve what they say is the most environmentally harmful and least economically justifiable road scheme currently being proposed in England.
Sian Berry, Campaign for Better Transport’s sustainable transport campaigner, said: “We see this decision as a key test for Government, one that will determine whether its aspiration to be the ‘greenest government ever’ is being overridden by a new drive to spend public money on infrastructure, no matter how damaging or ineffective it will be. Not only would approving it shred the Government's environmental credentials, it would also be a poor use of public money and will not provide the sustainable regeneration Hastings needs.”
The Bexhill-Hastings Link Road’s proposed route is through the middle of the Combe Haven Valley, an area vital for nature and recreation, passing within metres of a Site of Special Scientific Interest and several Sites of Nature Conservation. The area is also important historically as it includes the possible landing site for the Norman invasion in 1066 and could contain important archeological remains.
The road is the final major road scheme awaiting a funding decision from the Department for Transport. The funding decision was postponed in December 2011 when Ministers ordered East Sussex County Council to examine alternative road and public transport options for new housing and businesses that would be less environmentally damaging, something campaigners argue has never been properly completed. Campaigners are concerned that Treasury sources are pushing for the scheme to be approved so that it can be announced in the Budget on 21 March.
Notes to Editors
2. The Bexhill-Hastings Link Road would be a 5.6km road between the A259 in Bexhill and the B2092 Queensway in Hastings. The proposed route passes within metres of the Combe Haven Site of Special Scientific Interest, and construction of the road would have a devastating effect on the whole of the Combe Haven Valley. East Sussex County Council's funding bid to the Department for Transport was not approved in December 2011 due to environmental concerns, and it was decided to look at alternatives again. A final decision is expected in late March 2012.
3. 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).