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Conservation organisations demand changes to bypass proposals

16 October 2017

A group of nine national transport and conservation organisations, with a combined supporter base of over three million, has written a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, about the devastating impact of the A27 Arundel bypass proposals.

Highways England has put forward three options for the Arundel bypass, all of them dual carriageway and all causing great harm to the South Downs National Park, ancient woodland and the Arun Valley, an area much enjoyed for its tranquillity and wildlife.

The organisations believe that less harmful solutions can and should be brought forward that would safeguard the special qualities of the area, while addressing the current road issues.  Failure to do this would set a dangerous precedent and mean that none of our finest landscapes or natural habitats are safe from damaging development.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport said: “This scheme has all the elements of being a modern day Twyford Down. Nationally important environmental assets are being sacrificed just to improve journey times by a few minutes. Local people are quite rightly up in arms.”

Fiona Howie, chief executive of Campaign for National Parks said: “This threat to the integrity of the South Downs National Parks also presents a great opportunity for Government to demonstrate their commitment to National Parks. By providing less harmful proposals the Government can conserve the special qualities of the South Downs and show how seriously they take protecting all National Parks from major development.”

Crispin Truman, Chief Executive, Campaign to Protect Rural England said: “These plans set a dangerous precedent for our National Parks, opening the floodgates to further damaging road schemes in our most important landscapes. Our research has found new roads generate new traffic and lead to yet further congestion, suggesting the Arundel scheme is a waste of public money. Highways England must go back to the drawing board and come up with a better solution.”

Craig Bennett, chief executive of Friends of the Earth, said: “While the government persists in backing these backward-looking road schemes, it’s not focusing on the known solutions to congestion: walking, cycling and public transport investment. These solutions are better for our health, our air quality, they reduce traffic and, in this case, help preserve the South Downs National Park. That should be an ambition that all parties can agree on, and government should honour.”

The public consultation on the proposals ends today. 

ENDS

 

For further information please contact Alice Ridley at Campaign for Better Transport on 020 7566 6495 / 07984 773 468 or alice.ridley@bettertransport.org.uk

For further information please contact Faith Mall at Campaign to Protect Rural England on 020 7981 2819 / 07747 062932 or faithm@cpre.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  1. You can read the letter in full here.
  2. The following organisations have signed the letter to Chris Grayling:
  • Campaign for Better Transport
  • Campaign for National Parks
  • Campaign for the Protection of Rural England
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Greenpeace
  • Open Spaces Society
  • RSPB
  • Wildlife Trusts
  • Woodland Trust
  1. The South Downs National Park is England’s newest National Park, and came into existence on 31 March 2010.
  2. The three routes would devastate either 5.5 hectares, 6 hectares or 24 hectares of ancient woodland of the Binsted Wood and Rewell Wood complexes around Arundel.
  3. Read Highways England’s plans here.
  4. To find out more about the wildlife impacts of the proposed options please see Sussex Wildlife Trust’s response and objections to the A27/Arundel Bypass consultation here.
  5. 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).