No excuse for A27 environmental vandalism at Arundel, says local Green party

27 August 2017

‘Highways England’s proposed options for the A27 at Arundel are a horror story for anyone who cares for the countryside around here,’ said Green spokesperson and PPC for Arundel and South Downs, Jo Prior.
 
‘First we learn that only 7% of Arun District residents use public transport to get to work. Then we are told that: “There are no significant plans for bus improvements” and that following two studies looking at rail infrastructure investments in the South Coast Corridor, “neither of them found that improvements would offer value for money.”
 
‘It seems clear that our local councils and privatised public transport providers have been guilty of a culture of doing the minimum, and this has contributed to the traffic problems we are seeing,’ continued Ms Prior.  ‘Whilst we understand that there are real concerns for residents at Arundel, we firmly believe that spending up to £250 million pouring concrete into protected ancient woodland to save motorists just 3 to 7 minutes on their journey, is the wrong approach.’
 
Chichester and Bognor Green Party believes that these plans, part of a vanity project by former Chancellor, George Osborne, should never have seen the light of day. They have repeatedly been thrown out by previous governments, and the current planners, after openly stating the huge environmental damage their plans will cause, admit that they will have a hard job to get the options past the government’s own Secretary of State. There has to be proof that a significantly damaging scheme like this is in the public interest. Given that it has been proven over the last 80 years that all new roads attract new traffic growth and relieve congestion only in the short term, the responsible thing to do in the public interest, would be do develop real alternatives to the use of cars and improve the area for future generations.
 
A less damaging version of Option 1, consisting of a single lane bypass, has the backing of local campaigners and national environmental protection groups such as CPRE, and should have been included in a democratic process. This choice would both improve the ‘bottleneck’ at Crossbush without causing the massive destruction that the existing proposals are prepared to inflict.
 
Green MEP for South East England, Keith Taylor, summed up the party’s position by saying:
 
"The proposals are symbolic of a wrong-headed and outdated Conservative infrastructure agenda that unquestioningly casts 'car as king' and proposes 'build more roads' as the solution to every transport issue, whatever the cost."
 
"Invested wisely in sustainable, public transport, walking and cycling alternatives the money currently set aside for antiquated infrastructure projects could bring real and tangible benefits and improve the quality of life for people not just in Arundel but across the country."