£450 million to sever landscapes and principles

15 October 2020 | Posted in Transport , Tor Lawrence
£450 million to sever landscapes and principles
Proposed route © Highways England

By Tor Lawrence

Chief Executive

Highways England announced its preferred option for the much-debated Arundel A27 consultation. This road leads nowhere that we want to go. 

Despite significantly cheaper and less damaging options being presented, the ‘grey route’ will cause irreparable damage to our wildlife and the Arun valley floodplain 

£450 million will buy us a 8km stretch of dual carriageway, largely built on a bund, through Sussex countryside. This 8km 'wall' of headlights, fumes and noise will create a critical barrier for wildlife and compromise endangered species that are already so vulnerable. Many of the species present within the area require mobility through the entire area of woodland and connected habitat. The whole landscape represents roosting, feeding and foraging opportunities for bats and other endangered species and to interrupt this natural function will lead to devastating impacts. 

Anyone who has been following the messages of Sir David Attenborough will know the risk to wildlife that we face are throughout the whole array of species (41% of UK species in decline) and that we are in danger of simply pushing these wildlife communities too far.  No amount of good intentions and replanting can restore this lost abundance if we carry on with this type of destruction. 

The scheme promotional video shows a bund (raised bank) crossing the Arun valley floodplain which is a vital area for storage of flood water in times of flooding – and increasingly so. We are in the wrong era of history to be blocking the flow of water in our floodplains. As rainfall and storm patterns change, we should be giving our rivers more space, not less. The promotional video says lightly that there could be an option for a viaduct, but as this £450 million scheme is already short of cash before it even starts, the more expensive option of a viaduct is a pipe dream. The environmental mitigation for a scheme of this scale is considerable, and so often the 'supplementary point' when budgets cannot be met. 

We need a government agency looking at our transport issues in the round, not just a road building company. We don't consider that the government's transport hierarchy has been given enough consideration, which in light of the climate and ecological crisis is outrageous. The consultation for this road was carried out pre-Covid and some of the evidence cannot now stand. Are we building a road for a population that is on the brink of the transition to a net-zero future? This is not just a local issue, this is a national concern.

Sussex Wildlife Trust is very proud to work alongside other organisations in the South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment  (SCATE) and we will all work together to challenge this appalling proposal.

Comments

  • Julie Gay:

    15 Oct 2020 20:02:00

    I am from Sheffield.
    The continuing destruction of our environment and impact on wildlife all across the country is utterly heartbreaking and in my mind inexcusable.
    If I can support you please let me know.
    Kind regards
    Julie

  • Claire Pritchard:

    16 Oct 2020 11:21:00

    I live in Horsham but spent my childhood in Pulborough overlooking and running wild over the Brooks by the Arun – it is so beautiful. Every day we wake up to more destruction being wreaked on West Sussex, not to mention the world. I will be writing to relevant MP’s, etc (for what good that will do). Please let me know how else I can help.
    Kind regards
    Claire

  • James Byrne:

    16 Oct 2020 17:11:00

    These kind of developments need to stop. New roads just get filled anyway, they don’t do much good from a utilitarian standpoint and they are terrible for nature. Please stop investing in new roads and start investing in rail.

  • Tom:

    16 Oct 2020 21:20:00

    Completely agree, this makes even less sense post COVID. Tell us how we can resist.

  • Richard Denny:

    17 Oct 2020 09:56:00

    Anything that can be done to stop this must be done.

  • Andrew Attfield:

    19 Oct 2020 18:14:00

    Nature before traffic any day. Ok it’s sometimes a bit slow on A27 but small price to pay for preserving habitats. And there are alternatives that reach a reasonable compromise

  • Stephen:

    20 Oct 2020 17:43:00

    Please please the love of god what are they doing?

  • Phil Belden:

    21 Oct 2020 15:44:00

    The longest, costliest route, chosen because the South Downs National Park threatened them with a Judicial Review. Good on the SDNPA, bad on Highways England, simply adding £Ms to us taxpayers in order to head off the legal challenge and relying on weaker opposition from outside the National Park.
    With a railway line running right through the urban conurbation, why isn’t that being prioritised for improvement, instead of encouraging more cars to head out of town, up to the A27, then back down to their destination?! Supply will generate more demand, and the whole mad road “improvement” saga will continue.
    Climate change, biodiversity decline, a degraded landscape, severing of public access – this will just make it worse; no commitment to addressing the real problems of our time.
    Fight on everyone, for common sense’s sake.

  • Anne Massey:

    22 Oct 2020 11:13:00

    Thank you for alerting people to this monstrous plan. One of the arguments for road building is that it creates jobs. However, jobs could just as easily be created for productive purposes. The question now is what are we going to do in order to prevent it.

  • Steve Rodrick:

    22 Oct 2020 11:21:00

    Those who plan, design and build U.K. transport infrastructure are so often behind the times. They are continually fighting the last war. This is another case. We must not accept this dreadful proposal. Bombard the local MPs because without their support the Government will not listen.

  • Paul Dwyer:

    22 Oct 2020 11:22:00

    Absolutely disgusting and heartbreaking to hear of such an apathetic approach without a care in the world to the disruption and, quite likely, eradication of wildlife in the area. A public enquiry is needed and those who care should all make our voices heard.

  • Alan Buckle:

    22 Oct 2020 11:23:00

    Our very own HS2

  • Robin Hall:

    22 Oct 2020 11:23:00

    When will voters wake up to the empty promises this government keep making on the environment? It is clear they never intended to keep them.

  • Philip Talbot:

    22 Oct 2020 11:29:00

    Having lived in Arundel, on and off, for nearly 30 years, and having just returned from a four-year hiatus, I can’t beleieve that after all this time, HE have decided this is their preferred option. Talk about the world’s biggest sledgehammer to crack a relatively small nut. For the record, I don’t support a “leave it as it is” option – the pinch points at Crossbush, the railway bridge, the roundabouts and the single lane from the arboretum to Ford Road roundabout, which backs up to the dual carriageway and beyond, need solutions, along with the resultant rat-runs through the old town and Canada Road. But this devastation cannot be the best option.

  • sylvia harwood:

    22 Oct 2020 11:37:00

    every blade of grass will be concreted over and just for the sake of saving a few minutes I want to know what the drivers are doing with the time saved!

  • clare roche:

    22 Oct 2020 11:38:00

    Who is it best to write to about this proposal. Where would have the most impact?

  • Mrs Margaret Ferrari:

    22 Oct 2020 12:18:00

    The ignorance and sheer ‘wrong headedness’ of these road planners continues to beggar belief. They MUST listen to sensible alternatives and MUST be aware of the irreparable damage to the environment and wildlife if these badly-thought out schemes are given the green light. Please THINK AGAIN!

  • Adam Pride:

    22 Oct 2020 12:24:00

    My parents home for 40 years was in Slindon Common so I know the area quite well, including Yapton, Binsted and Walberton.
    Watching the glossy, complacent video from Highways England made me feel quite ill. The existing A27 dual carriage way was bad enough (long gone are the days when my mother and I could cycle from Mill Road down Tye Lane to do the shopping in Walberton).
    Dualling it made it more noisy, dangerous and had a big negative impact on the environment, but at least there was a road there before.
    The proposed scheme is much worse, tarmacing over the countryside and going directly between Binsted and Walberton.
    Hopefully this CAN be stopped.

  • Carol Birc:

    22 Oct 2020 12:32:00

    SWT have summarised the points so well. I would just add that the money needs to be spent on an integrated transport system that is affordable for travellers.

  • C M Dann:

    22 Oct 2020 12:32:00

    This is a typical response, unfortunately, to the needs of wildlife and the environment which we have all become accustomed to in 21st century Britain. The focus is always on transport and construction. Warnings about species depletion, likely weather pattern distortion, the need for woodland preservation, fall on deaf ears. Global warming fails to affect this government’s thinking and the general view of the environment the last to be considered prevails. The Arundel bypass plan is one more example.

  • Lizzy Welch:

    22 Oct 2020 12:33:00

    Call me cynical, but I believe that the decisions made by councils and governments are deliberately destructive. They invariably choose routes that will cause the most harm to the environment with no regard for the wishes of the public or the wellbeing of the creatures living within these habitats. The reason we find ourselves living on a dying planet is because of the decisions made by small minded people only concerned with the short term.

  • Sally Watts:

    22 Oct 2020 12:34:00

    I believe on the original consultation papers, the average reduction for journey times with the then current traffic was 6 -8 minutes. This seems huge financial outlay for remarkably little reward, as the expressed justification was to shorten journey times. Also, one does wonder in the overall scheme of an East West trunk road, what effect on journey times there will be from all the new builds down Chichester and resulting extra traffic, road junctions etc. Dare one speculate more delay than the time saved by this stretch of dual carriageway.

  • Sandy Henney:

    22 Oct 2020 12:35:00

    Quite frankly, it’s nuts. But then given the flawed planning process proposed by this government is any one surprised? The countryside in West Sussex is being eaten away by poor judgement,over development, and lack of thought through infrastructure and service needs. Of course we need housing, of course we need networks to join communities but not at the price of destroying part of our national identity. Good luck with your campaign.

  • Anthony Oliver:

    22 Oct 2020 12:36:00

    Having spent many years as a member of councils serving on many committees I am satisfied that decisions are made by elected members having considered all relevant issues. What representations were made at the planning meetings prior to the final decisions being approved? Does Sussex Wildlife Trust consider only the effect on wildlife or do you consider the wider issues? Thankyou.

  • caroline brent:

    22 Oct 2020 12:44:00

    I fully agree with Andrew who says as follows;

    ‘Nature before traffic any day. Ok it’s sometimes a bit slow on A27 but small price to pay for preserving habitats. And there are alternatives that reach a reasonable compromise.’

  • Philip Bennett:

    22 Oct 2020 12:44:00

    Another example of poor planning and bad decisions. What will help change the outlook of the Government to start treating our environment with the respect it deserves.?
    Our Country and The World cannot continue with the current decision makers and we must find new people and ways of protecting our environment….

  • Serena Constance:

    22 Oct 2020 12:49:00

    This is devastating news. I am outraged. May the knuckers rise out of their holes and smite these terribly shortsighted and morally criminal decision makers. Can we do any more to stop this madness? Let me know.

  • DR FRANCOIS STRYDOM:

    22 Oct 2020 12:49:00

    Please start a petition for all people in South East England to vote on the 2 roads in question. I firmly believe the grey road will be a disaster.

  • Christine:

    22 Oct 2020 12:50:00

    You do wonder in this world if anyone that can change things will ever really get to grips with environmental issues. More house, more roads, less fresh air, trees, native animals……if you drive it is not the end of the world to get slowed down at Arundel for a few minutes…. the answer is don’t drive.

  • JN:

    22 Oct 2020 12:54:00

    If the amount of traffic on that bypass is supposed to be representative then it wasn’t worth building. Awful decision. For me, widening the current A27 was the way to go.

  • George:

    22 Oct 2020 13:00:00

    Anthony O – if agriculture becomes so compromised by the loss of insect pollinators, soil degradation, and climate change that food production cannot meet demand then there will not be any “wider issues”. We are at a point where wildlife and environment have to start trumping even traditionally assessed economic considerations. If the hidden cost of further environmental degradation was accounted for now your “wider issues” would have halted this project. Perhaps you don't accept that the climate/ecological crisis?

  • Mark McManus:

    22 Oct 2020 13:14:00

    I just watched their ‘lovely’ video……they forgot to put in the animated lambs gamboling in the fields…….you can always guarantee that the cretins at Highways England will make an ill judged decision……anybody would think it is deliberate?

  • Barry Lane:

    22 Oct 2020 13:15:00

    This road is part of the main trunk route for the south coast and has been held up for far too long. This isn’t just about wildlife its also about the environmental damage caused by congestion. the air quality during peak times is appalling. As long as wildlife passages through the bund are sufficient for wildlife and floodwater, there should be no problem. Enough prevarication and appeals, just get on with it!

  • Eve Ashley:

    22 Oct 2020 13:24:00

    At a time when the national debt is in the many trillions due to the pandemic, there must be a more creative way of moving into the future than killing off acres of beautiful countryside and living creatures purely to get cars 6-8 minutes faster across the country.
    Our country is one of the most heavily populated in Europe and we need to preserve the wild areas we have left, not to fill them with cars and lorries

  • Barry Sugg:

    22 Oct 2020 13:29:00

    The news about the proposed Arundel by-pass is outrageous. When is the penny going to drop that we are in a huge national and international emergency? How are we ever going to get to a zero carbon economy if we continue to build roads that attract more and more traffic and cause devastating environmental damage? This road is completely unnecessary. The existing road could be improved at a fraction of the cost and with much less environmental damage.

  • 22 Oct 2020 13:41:00

    Let me know if there is anything I can do to support SWT in stopping this happening.

  • Joanne Burton:

    22 Oct 2020 13:42:00

    This is crazy, and there are even more stupid things going on with the Oving crossing being closed in Chichester forcing traffic though the village of tangmere, and to help the situation they are doubling the size of tangmere, and all with one exit that’s no good for driving to the railway, nor Chichester, and will bung it up totally on the A27 by the time you’ve from Arundel on the new road if it go’s ahead it’s slower here !

  • Ann Donin:

    22 Oct 2020 13:53:00

    Why am I not surprised.
    Too many people in a small country.
    Please let me know how to protest against this folly and protect our wildlife .

  • D Hurry:

    22 Oct 2020 14:00:00

    Appalling decision.

  • L Thorpe:

    22 Oct 2020 14:02:00

    Give this project more thought

  • Anthony Larlham:

    22 Oct 2020 14:04:00

    The road will be built on a “bund”. So what proposals have Highways England offered for wildlife culverts beneath the road surface ? Of course other ‘pondlife’ will need to be deterred from using it as an escape route from Police, illegal motorcycle use, drug taking & under age drinking. The difficulty may be deer needing greater height than other wildlife, but surely a solution is possible.

  • Anna:

    22 Oct 2020 14:51:00

    This is just another example of those in power not having care for the natural world. It will be our downfall as a species in the end and it is very painful to watch from a position of powerlessness.
    If anyone has a twitter account then I suggest you let Highways England know you’re not happy with their decision. Another option is to email them to let them know ([email protected])

  • Anna:

    22 Oct 2020 14:51:03

    This is just another example of those in power not having care for the natural world. It will be our downfall as a species in the end and it is very painful to watch from a position of powerlessness.
    If anyone has a twitter account then I suggest you let Highways England know you’re not happy with their decision. Another option is to email them to let them know ([email protected])

  • Chas Thompson:

    22 Oct 2020 15:02:00

    I use the A27 through Arundel every day. Even in the worst cases the traffic jams rarely cause delays of more than 15 minutes. Seems a awful lot of money to spend, coupled with the environmental cost for very little gain. If any scheme is introduced to ‘speed up’ the traffic through Arundel the Crossbush bottleneck will only be moved west to the Fontwell roundabouts. Why bother?

  • A Jones:

    22 Oct 2020 15:06:00

    One-sided argument, Mr Lawrence. You speak of other better options but only show the one preferred by Highways England. Saying you don’t want something without proposing an alternative doesn’t actually get us anywhere. More productive is to galvanise support behind a more suitable option. A bypass is needed, let’s get the one WE want.

  • Evangeline Rand:

    22 Oct 2020 15:13:00

    My maternal home is Sussex. It is one of the most beautiful areas of the world. Its preservation is mandatory for continued health and prosperity for all life forms.

  • Helen Bates:

    22 Oct 2020 15:27:00

    This decision flies in the face of everything we know to be of critical importance for the health and wellbeing of local residents and to provide an environment where flora and fauna can thrive. Each member of the HE team needs to watch the David Attenborough “A life on our planet” documentary“ and then answer the question -is this plan an appropriate response to our environmental challenges? Has the original need been revisited based on the current environment we find ourselves in? Please let me know how I can help with challenging this outrageous decision.

  • Ronald McLaren:

    22 Oct 2020 15:29:00

    Rejecting the viaduct option in order to justify putting the whole scheme in the bin does not seem entirely logical. Even as a lifetime nature lover and Sussex resident I have long realised that perfection is not available. This stopping of this road has been a long-term farce that should be brought to an end.

  • Emma AKEHURST:

    22 Oct 2020 15:49:00

    Absolutely insane, when it’s clear that we are heading towards a global catastrophe, with the loss of biodiversity, when are the politicians and ppl making these decision learn the lasting damage they are creating.
    Please look at the alternatives and help to protect what we have left before it’s too late
    Emma Akehurst

  • Richard James:

    22 Oct 2020 16:04:00

    Isn’t there a petition or anything we can do in a practical sense?

  • Mike Davis:

    22 Oct 2020 16:16:00

    The future of life on earth depends on our ability to take action. Many individuals are doing what they can, but real success can only come if there’s a change in our societies and our economics and in our politics. I’ve been lucky in my lifetime to see some of the greatest spectacles that the natural world has to offer. Surely we have a responsibility to leave for future generations a planet that is healthy, inhabitable by all species

    David Attenborough

  • Andrew D Cummins:

    22 Oct 2020 16:55:00

    Stop complaining! This is not why I joined the Wildlife Trust. A solution is desperately needed for this terrible bottleneck and the government has at great expense tried to select a satisfactory alternative. Let them get on with it as the traffic congestion is unbearable and does nothing for wildlife. The situation will only worsen as the population in the south grows!

  • Deborah Rainsford:

    22 Oct 2020 17:32:00

    So after all this time, this is the preferred option?? For whom exactly?? We already have less forestation then any other European country. This is going backwards not forward, and not what we should be planning in these difficult times for our planet. Who can we write too?

  • Vicki Graver:

    22 Oct 2020 17:33:00

    If there is a better and cheaper way of providing this bypass, then why has this damaging one been agreed? Being built on a bund will cause so many problems for wildlife. I think we have all noticed that roads are not so busy since Covid-19, as more people are staying/working at home, so do we even need this road anyway.

  • David Butt:

    22 Oct 2020 17:47:00

    It’s very disappointing, they just don’t get it!
    Loss of species and climate disruption are sadly still not taken seriously. How can we work round those inconvenient concerned people is the mindset.

  • Joanne:

    22 Oct 2020 18:01:00

    Can spend millions on destroying our countryside but not to feed hungry children. Stop. Just stop.

  • Keith Allen:

    22 Oct 2020 18:19:00

    Another senseless decision that gives little value to wildlife. The outrageous decision to follow the most destructive path for this road, seems a further demonstration that the government, HE etc don’t give a fig for nature, and when the planet goes beyond the point of recovery will doubtless say why did no one tell us, who is to blame! Tell us how we can help to try to influence this disastrous decision

  • Helen Bate:

    22 Oct 2020 18:21:00

    Please publicise this catastrophe as much as possible. And please tell us what we can do to help prevent the madness.

  • Peter Mendham:

    22 Oct 2020 19:14:00

    A number of major changes will be in place by the time any new route is completed. The main one will be the advent of the electric/hydrogen powered vehicle of any size which will mean greatly reduced pollution problems, reduced use of vehicle numbers (basically through the cost of running these vehicle – any future government will certainly find ways of taxing a new form of using vehicles as current fossil fuels are made obsolete ). Also, solutions have been introduced in Europe, where wire fencing has been installed along new and existing motorway/dual carriageway projects to deter wild/stray animals from getting onto the traffic lanes. Plus, there are wildlife access culverts at frequent intervals under the roads.The visual impact is relatively low if properly installed and the “kill rate” of animals has been reduced dramatically in many areas.
    However, the cost of further delay for the proposed route will only increase and will be damaging to local and national prosperity. I would like to suggest better alternative suggestions, but can only feel that this route would be the best option, though cannot get excited about it!

  • Phillip Ellis:

    22 Oct 2020 20:06:00

    As a member of SWT I am all in favour and support the Arundel bypass because I am fed up with having to attempt to avoid holdups as I did today and also having to use rat runs. The Trust should have 30 years ago realised what would happen with more people living along the coastal plain and objected to house building. Only solution might be to stop building and reduce the population in the South East. I am did not go for the current route in my support and Its looks as if it will have some impact socially on Walberton but I am sure it can be adjusted. The new bypass will offer huge opportunities to create new woodlands and habitats. The next move has to be a bypass for Worthing and modify Chichester bypass with flyovers.

  • Barbara Lockie:

    22 Oct 2020 20:07:00

    Big wheels move slowly, unfortunately… but I hope these ones catch up with things enough to realise people now want better public transport more than they want better roads – and that £450 million would be FAR better spent on improving the infrastructure for electric cars and on cycle lanes. Times have changed, HE!

  • John:

    22 Oct 2020 21:09:00

    So why, in the midst of a pandemic and a potential recession, has the government chosen a more expensive as well as more environmentally damaging option. An FOI request should be submitted for the release of the environmental and economic impact assessments linked to the different options that lead to this (disastrous) decision being made.

  • Mike Attwood:

    22 Oct 2020 23:24:00

    I have lived in Storrington for the past 5 years and have watched the local wildlife disappear during that time. I have dense woodland less than 200yds from my large garden. I feed the animals and birds which I have watched diminish during that time. Badgers, foxes, voles, hedgehogs, sparrows, starlings, blackbirds have gone from my garden, some of which have not been seen for more than 2 years. This is because of the air pollution from the stationary traffic that passes through the village on its way to the coast. If there was a better route south of Storrington the heavy lorries and coastal traffic would take that and our village would be clean again.

  • James Alastair Crompton:

    23 Oct 2020 09:31:00

    As usual profit over nature, what world do we leave for our children? We need to have people in power making the right decisions. It is not our right to destroy the world.

  • Maz bernard:

    23 Oct 2020 11:06:00

    This kind of corporate vandalism is destroying what’s left of our natural world. Totally the wrong scheme for this precious area, and in the light of climate change, species extinction, and the pandemic restrictions, completely mind boggling!

  • David Logan:

    23 Oct 2020 14:33:00

    What a waste. £450 million and environmental destruction, just to get from the Worthing traffic jam to the Chichester traffic jam a few minutes faster!
    If this was part of a coherent plan to turn the whole A27 into a quasi-motorway (like A14 in Cambridge or A55 in North Wales) there would a case. I would still be opposed, because we do not need a motorway. In reality, something lesser than option A would suffice in the post-covid, global emergency world.
    This is old “group-think” planning along the line of – Something must be done-This is something-Therefore we must do it.

    A public enquiry is needed.

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