Highways England has announced the grey route as its preferred route for the A27 Arundel bypass. In doing so, it has ignored community proposals for an affordable, low impact solution. Instead it has opted for a climate-wrecking dual carriageway. This will cause serious destruction of landscape, wildlife and communities in the Arun Valley. It is also way beyond its budget of £250 million.
Highways England’s proposals for Arundel are the latest in a long line of attempts to dual this short stretch of A27 single carriageway over the past 40 years. Each has failed as the environmental impact was found to be unacceptable. The threatened area of the Arun Valley, Binsted, Tortington and Walberton is exceptional in its ecology. It contains rare bats, butterflies, dormice and chalk streams alongside badgers, larks, hedges, veteran trees, valuable and ancient woodland.
SCATE believes that this announcement flies in the face of all the evidence about the need to tackle climate change and loss of wildlife. Highways England seem to be on a different planet, ignoring the warnings of Sir David Attenborough and others that we need to do things differently.
Building bigger roads just increases traffic and carbon emissions. In this case it will also destroy valuable wildlife habitats, local communities and the setting of the South Downs National Park.
The solution is not a new, highly expensive, dual carriageway. Yet Highways England as a road building company is the one tasked with solving our transport problems. Unsurprisingly, it only ever comes up with new roads as the solution. Instead the money would be better spent on a low impact solution and walking, cycling and public transport.