Highways England has launched a further consultation on the A27 Arundel Bypass scheme.
The new consultation was launched on Friday 30 August and will close on Thursday 24 October 2019
The Sussex Wildlife Trust is going through all the consultation documents very carefully to make sure that the we can put in a strong and evidence-based response, but our initial impression is not good. All six options include new stretches of dual carriageway that would destroy and sever precious habitats including ancient woodlands and rare chalk streams. This complex and wonderful interconnected ecosystem is home to rare and protected wildlife including 14 species of bat.
Sussex Wildlife Trust is concerned that all six options:
- will significantly and permanently sever our natural environment, having an outrageous impact on wildlife and the landscape
- will increase carbon emissions and make it much harder to meet the legal target of net-zero carbon by 2050
- will harm the South Downs National Park
- involve dual carriageways rather than an option for a wide single carriageway that could minimise impacts on precious ancient woodland
A budget of between £100 and £250 million has been allocated to the scheme, but only two of the six options fall within this budget. Even £250 million is too much public money to spend severing and destroying habitats during a climate and ecological emergency. The money should be invested in sustainable transport and a cheaper, less damaging road avoiding the current bottlenecks.
What is being done?
Highways England are carrying out another consultation on the A27 Arundel Bypass scheme between Friday 30 August and Thursday 24 October 2019 so that proposed options, updated with new evidence, can be considered again.
The Sussex Wildlife Trust will be responding to this consultation to give a voice to the wildlife that will be irreversibly impacted by the proposals.
What can you do?
- Respond to the consultation - we will make our full response available once it has been submitted
- Attend one of Highways England's public consultation exhibitions
- Join the South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment (SCATE) to show that there is a different way to improve access in Sussex
- Support the local communities fighting this damaging scheme
- Let the Councillors in West Sussex and the Members of the South Downs National Park Authority know what you think about the proposal
What happened previously?
In Autumn 2017, Highways England consulted on three options for road-building along the A27 at Arundel. These included new stretches of dual carriageway and road widening schemes that would destroy ancient woodlands and smother vulnerable and rare chalk stream habitat.
In May 2018, Highways England announced that after looking at the consultation responses, option 5A was their preferred route. You can read their preferred route announcement here (pdf).
We were appalled to hear that such an environmentally damaging decision had been made, with apparently no regard for the Government's own transport hierarchy. This short-sighted decision would result in the destruction of irreplaceable habitats and fail to bring the stated benefits of reducing congestion. You can read Sussex Wildlife Trust's response to the 2017 consultation here (pdf).
In November 2018, Highways England decided to carry out a further non-statutory consultation for the A27 Arundel Bypass scheme which was launched on 30th August 2019.
Watch our call to action from the autumn 2017 consultation: