Life in the slow lane

It’s been several months now since an announcement on Worthing – Lancing was scheduled in May (2018). And we could be waiting for some time yet.

As the road builders are starting to realise, the reason why the A27 has not been expanded to date is because it faces so many issues which are not easy to deal with. However, rather than face up to this fact and look for different solutions, it would seem the dial on the machine is stuck on road building. Consequently we end up caught up in this seemingly never ending cycle of raising false hope before dashing it again, while traffic and congestion just get worse.

With the Worthing – Lancing section of the A27, a combination of budget restraints coupled with extremely expensive and damaging alternative road options have stymied any action in this area. Road options are limited to expanding the existing road through the two towns or building a brand new road through the South Downs National Park. Both are fiercely opposed, with there being much skepticism as to whether Highways England’s package of on-line measures was actually going to make any significant difference.

It will be interesting to see whether there will be an announcement anytime soon.

A27 East of Lewes Update

SCATE (South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment) is concerned about the effect which a major new dual carriageway will have on the National Park, east of Lewes. These new proposals are being put forward, even before the agreed safety improvements to the existing A27 have been implemented.

See below for a summary of the current situation, a BBC interview with a SCATE member, some background reading. Plus some links to follow SCATE news on Twitter & Facebook as well as a link to join SCATE………….

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Join the consultation on a new rail ticket system!

The Rail Delivery Group (made up of Train Operating Companies)  along with the rail passenger organisation, Transport Focus are asking for public comments on how to restructure and simplify train fares. The consultation is open and runs until 10 September 2018.

This is the first major review of how train fares are structured since the early 1990s. That’s before the Internet became widely used and before contactless payments were invented. The rail fare system is still based on a clunky magnetic ticketing system which is very difficult to modify and change.

Recommendations will be made to the government in the autumn following the consultation and SCATE hope that it will bring about a much fairer, more equitable and easier fare system. However the computer experts and ticket administrators sitting in their offices don’t necessarily have all the best ideas so this is our opportunity to tell them what we want. Please make your comments:

Click HERE to give your views

This consultation is not about the quality of service or lack of it, dealing with overcrowding or resolving the chaotic way in which the rail companies introduced timetable changes. Yes, all these things need to be dealt with but it is really important to take advantage of this consultation and make suggestions of how you would to improve the rail ticket system. Please do tell them what you think by clicking on the above link. Thanks!

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Clean Air Strategy Consultation – closes 14th Aug 2018

Following the latest legal challenge by the organisation ‘ClientEarth‘, the government has had to comply with a court order and publish an Air Quality Strategy Plan. The government is consulting on this plan NOW, – following which it will be finalised by October 2018. Click on the image to the right which will take you to the consultation and a questionnaire. The more people that comment the more the government will have to take this seriously.

Why not have a go and tell the government what you think should be done? Alternatively/or as well tell us of your views [Click Here] and we will include your comments in our submission to the consultation. Remember the  Clean Air Strategy Consultation – closes 14th Aug 2018

Sadly, the UK Government’s strategy contains very few new ideas as to how the government could get a grip on the problem but it does contain some very useful statistical information about the amount of air pollution and what types of chemicals are being pumped into the air.

This consultation is a golden opportunity for members of the public and campaigning organisations to suggest measures to reduce air pollution which could be included in the final draft. Obviously one measure which could be adopted by the Secretary of State for the Environment (Defra), Michael Gove,  could be the bringing forward of the banning of all petrol & diesel cars/vans before 2040.  Mayors of large cities in the UK have suggested perhaps 2030.

However there are other issues which the public will have the opportunity of raising with the government through this consultation. For instance reducing journey times for commuters by creating employment opportunities near new housing or making it much easier for motorists to transfer to rail services. Other measures could be, – building rail links instead of building motorway-style roads or investing in electric buses powered by solar energy (yes it is possible). Here is an example right here in Sussex where electric buses have been introduced:

The Big Lemon bus company in Brighton & Hove has fully electric, zero emissions vehicles powered by solar panels on the roof of the bus depot. See: https://thebiglemon.com/

 

Transport for the South East (TfSE) have published a draft strategy

A new sub-national transport body for the South East, Transport for the South East (TfSE), was launched in 2017. The chair is Cllr Keith Glazier, leader of East Sussex County Council. The vice-chair is Cllr Tony Page, the deputy leader of Reading Borough Council and representative of the Berkshire Local Transport Forum.

TfSE takes in Berkshire, Brighton and Hove, Kent, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Medway, Portsmouth, Southampton, Surrey, East Sussex and West Sussex.

TfSE together with the area’s 16 transport authorities and five local enterprise partnerships are to work directly with the Department for Transport and will involve other key stakeholders, including Highways England, Network Rail and transport operators and users.

They have been developing a Transport Strategy – click the image below to read the document.

 

TfSE said on their web site:

The South East in 2050: Our Strategy

At the heart of Transport for the South East is our evolving transport strategy for the region; a strategy to transform travel in ways which improve people’s lives and help the economy to grow.

Our strategy will take us to the year 2050. We know the South East, like the rest of the country, will be vastly different in 30 years’ time. The ways we travel, how we work, live, communicate, consume and spend our leisure time will all be radically different. The purpose of our strategy work is to anticipate and adapt to these changes. We can shape the future, with the right investment, technology and insight to guide us.

Our final strategy, the blueprint for transport in the South East, will be completed at the end of 2019. But work is already under way on its building blocks. The first of these is our Economic Connectivity Review. This is a study of how the South East’s economy works, how it connects to national and international markets and which are the key corridors of transport where investment will have the greatest effect.

The study is being conducted by consultants Steer Davies Gleave and has been published in draft for key partners and stakeholders to give us their views on this initial blueprint by 19 June 2018.

We’ll be consulting with partners, businesses and residents across the South East once we have drafted the final strategy for our region. This will guide the work of Transport for the South East from the moment it becomes a statutory body, expected to be by 2020.

 

A full house at Selmeston Village Hall as locals discuss concerns over plans for A27 dual carriageway road!

After recent confusion over proposed Government plans for the A27 extension between Lewes and Polegate, South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment (SCATE), the Folkington Estate and RH & RW Clutton presented to a ‘full house’ at Selmeston Village Hall on June 12th, to determine the truth and what could be done to influence the outcome of Highways England’s proposals.

SCATE suggest that members of the public write to their MP and to their councillors at Wealden and East Sussex councils, expressing their views whether for or against a new road through the countryside. Anyone who wants to be kept informed was advised to join SCATE (membership is free).

Click here to see links to the report of the meeting & presentations (at bottom of page)

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Arundel Bypass takes a battering

On Wednesday 23rd May, ten national environmental and conservation organisations wrote a joint letter to Michael Gove (Environment Secretary) and Chris Grayling (Transport Secretary) outlining their concerns about Highways England’s preferred route for the Arundel bypass (a slightly modified option 5A).  This would destroy around 6 hectares of ancient woodland and a swathe of the South Downs National Park.  It would also bisect the village of Binsted and destroy the tranquillity of the Arun Valley and the views along it.

They called for the Arundel bypass and other planned expansions of the A27 to be reviewed and more sustainable solutions to be found that would not jeopordise the Government’s 25 year Environment Plan.

A27-Arundel-bypass-national-joint-letter-23-May-2018-clean

Joint letter to Gove & Grayling

The next day, the plans took another battering when the South Downs National Park Authority agreed to seek leave for judicial review of Highways England’s decision to select a slightly modified option 5A and the process leading up to that decision.  This is the second scheme this year that Highways England’s consultation processes and decision making have been legally challenged.  It would suggest that something is seriously wrong with their approach.

Arundel launch for a New Transport Vision

launch-poster-V2 

After successful launches in Lewes and Chichester, Arundel will be launching A New Transport Vision for the Sussex Coast on Thursday, 17 May, 7:30pm at Arundel Town Hall.  Bridget Fox from Campaign for Better Transport will be the keynote speaker.  Refreshments will be available.

The event is free but numbers are limited so make sure you book your ticket early.  Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

New vision launches across Sussex

SCATE’s soon to be published New Transport Vision for the Sussex Coast is being launched at a series of local events along the Sussex coast.  The events are open to all and will outline some of the key principles and findings of the report.

Saturday, 21st April – Lewes Town Hall – doors open at 10am for 10:30am – 12:30pm (book a place on Eventbrite – event is free to attend)

Friday, 4th May – Bassil Shippam Centre, Tozer Way, Chichester, PO19 7LG – doors open at 1:30pm for 2pm–3:30pm (book a place on Eventbrite – event is free to attend)

Thursday, 17th May – Arundel Town Hall, from 7:30pm

Appetite for destruction – the Arundel options revealed

Arun Valley near where a new dual carriageway bypass is likely to go if approved

Well the day we all feared is upon us: the day that Highways England reveals its options for the A27 around Arundel.

Not unexpectedly, the South Downs National Park takes a huge hit whichever option is chosen, although option 1 is marginally better in that development within the National Park is along the existing alignment of the A27.  Ancient woodland is also for the chop, as though this and other important features matter little.

It would seem that there is no room for compromise when it comes to attempting to move more and more people by car and little consideration of the consequences of pursuing such a policy.  World Heritage Sites (Stonehenge), National Parks, AONBs, ancient woodland, important wildlife sites – none of them matter more than the requirement to shave a few seconds of someone’s journey.

It perhaps wouldn’t be so bad if there was real evidence of the benefits of such an approach, but there aren’t.  In fact all it is likely to lead to is more traffic, leading to congestion just moving somewhere else on the network.  Indeed as the A27 is expanded along its length, more long distance traffic will start using it, further clogging it up again.

The insanity of our current transport policies are clear to be seen by the solutions being proffered here.  If we have a valuable asset such as the National Park, why, if the road is so important, is it not being built in a tunnel for at least part of its length?  The reason being that the benefits of the road are not that great and with the warped logic applied by the Department for Transport that means that it is not cost effective to build a tunnel.

So were the road of massive economic importance we would get a tunnel, but because it isn’t we have to suffer the destruction of a swathe of ancient woodland and huge damage to the National Park.  It’s utter madness!  If we were in The Netherlands, while they like their roads they also build them much more sympathetically.  The A4 north of Rotterdam towards Delft has been placed in a tunnel in the urban area and then sunk below ground level through a wet landscape important for its recreational opportunities, significantly reducing its impact on the surrounding area.  Whereas we have to be grateful for a noise barrier and some tree planting.

We would urge people to reject all three options and support a low impact variant of option 1 as put forward by local people: the new ‘single purple’ route.  This bypasses the key bottlenecks but does so without the harm caused by option 1.  Make sure you have your say and vote for a solution that not only works for today but also for future generations.