Roads - key principles

New roads create new traffic

Decades-worth of extensive evidence shows that new roads create new traffic. Far from solving the transport problem, road-building actually causes an increase in congestion.

Professor Phil Goodwin in his 2006 article Induced traffic again. And again. And again pointed out that for 80 years, empirical studies and official reports have agreed on the rather inconvenient truth that increased road capacity leads to more traffic: read more

The 2017 CPRE report End of the road analysed 13 separate road schemes and found that, on average, traffic grew 47% more than background levels, with one scheme more than doubling traffic within 20 years. Four schemes were assessed for their longer-term impacts and none showed the promised reduction in congestion; all put pressure on adjoining roads: read more

Reduce use of fossil fuels

With climate change and its implications and the UK’s global commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, there should be a strong presumption against significant road widening or new roads that would increase emissions and cause more pollution. Climate change will have major impacts on the natural environment and wildlife as well as people and its impacts should be mitigated as far as possible. Reducing fossil fuel dependent transport is clearly a mechanism for this.

Sustainable Transport Hierarchy

Sussex Wildlife Trust requires all road schemes to fit into the Department for Transport’s Sustainable Transport Hierarchy. We want to see all national and local consultations follow this clearly. The A27 consultations come from the Highways Agency rather than the Department for Transport but as a Government department they should uphold the same standards to:

  1. Minimise demand
  2. Widen travel choices
  3. Improve efficiency
  4. Increase capacity as a last resort

High quality information

Consultations should always be informed by the best available evidence base. The purpose of this information is to demonstrate the impacts on biodiversity, whether positive or negative. Alongside the data, we expect any consultation to provide an impartial evaluation of this information. This should ensure that an informed decision can be made, enabling the public bodies involved to uphold their duties under section 40 of the NERC Act 2006.

Strategically planned development

Sussex Wildlife Trust wishes to see an integrated approach to infrastructure. The strategic allocation of areas for development must take transport into account and should be better blended with local requirements and local schemes. Currently, there is little connection between national and local plans. Roads and public transport proposals need to be linked into housing and retail development as well as Green Infrastructure plans.

Net gains for biodiversity

Sussex Wildlife Trust will not support schemes where there is a net loss to biodiversity and people’s access to it, nor where we consider that mitigation or compensation is insufficient.

Sussex Wildlife Trust expects that all schemes will clearly set out how their proposals intend to carefully integrate gains for biodiversity. These gains should be relevant to the species and habitats that are already present within the area of the scheme, and the information provided should extend to how these gains will be managed and protected into the future.