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.
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.