By Jess Price
Highways England have announced that they will be carrying out another consultation on the A27 Arundel Bypass scheme between Friday 30 August and Thursday 24 October 2019. During this eight-week period everyone will be able to look at Highways England’s proposed options for ‘upgrading the A27’ and submit comments.
The previous consultation on this issue occurred in Autumn 2017, during which Highways England proposed new stretches of dual carriageway and road widening schemes that would destroy ancient woodland and smother vulnerable and rare chalk stream habitat. Highways England then announced a preferred route, which would result in the destruction of irreplaceable habitats and fail to bring the stated benefits of reducing congestion. Thankfully they have decided to run this new consultation so that proposed options, updated with new evidence, can be considered again.
It should be noted that since the last consultation, legislation came into force committing the UK to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Given that transport is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK - accounting for over a quarter of all emissions – and is the only sector which has failed to achieve any net reductions in carbon emissions since 1990 (compared to a 45% decrease for the whole UK economy), the Sussex Wildlife Trust sincerely hopes that this new consultation will accurately set out how the Sustainable Transport Hierarchy, introduced by the Sustainable Development Commission and adopted by the Department for Transport, has been worked through.
We also expect Highways England to clearly set out how their proposals will result in a net gain to biodiversity and avoid impacts on irreplaceable habitats such as ancient woodland and the huge variety of wildlife it is home to.
The Sussex Wildlife Trust will need to go through all the consultation documents very carefully to make sure that the we can put in a strong and evidence-based response, but we will let our members know of our top line, initial thoughts as soon as we can after the consultation documents are released on 30 August.
Please keep an eye on our blog, webpages and social media to stay up to date with this issue. We also strongly encourage you to have a look at Highways England’s consultation as soon as it is available.