By Jess Price
Earlier today Sussex Wildlife Trust submitted their response to the Arundel A27 bypass consultation. As we have written before, we do not support any of the six proposals in their current form as all will have unacceptable impacts on biodiversity and increase carbon emissions during a time of climate and ecological emergency.
We do acknowledge that there are issues with congestion and pollution on the current road, but we think the money should be spent on an alternative route which is much less damaging and resolves the current bottlenecks. Therefore we are encouraging everyone to respond to the current consultation and tell Highways England that none of their options are good. Instead we think there should be consideration of the Arundel Alternative, a much shorter length of 40mph, wide single carriageway that should resolve congestion without devastating wildlife.
The Sussex Wildlife Trust is encouraging people to respond using the Highways England questionnaire. Although it is a bit more complicated and limits what one can say, we think these responses hold more weight when Highways England come to analyse all the responses and report back on the consultation. There are sections with free text boxes where you can clarify your answers and add more information - you can read what the Sussex Wildlife Trust put in these boxes here, along with further information on How to Respond.
What happens next will depend on the outcome of the consultation; it may lead to a preferred option being published or perhaps a re-examination of the scheme?
What is clear to the Sussex wildlife Trust from this consultation, is that as a country we are still approaching major infrastructure projects in a disjointed way. It is widely recognised that nature is important for our health and wellbeing, while also delivering diverse economic benefits. Yet here we are still being asked to consider “options” that ignore this. We have evidence piling up from government bodies about the damage being done to our environment and the many species that are suffering as a result of this damage, yet still a landscape and biodiversity led solution is not embedded at the start of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.