LETTER: Need for a coherent policy

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We congratulate the South Downs National Park Authority on their decision of 24 May to seek legal action against Highways England’s highly destructive Arundel Bypass Preferred Route (Option 5A).

Their action may prevent terrible damage to villages, ancient woods, countryside, the Arun valley and the National Park.

The legal action already has many supporters – those in villages that would be ruined by the route, those who love the woodland and countryside that would be spoilt, and a large number of environmental groups both local and national.

There were many speeches at the SDNPA meeting on 24 May pointing out the appalling effect 5A would have and asking the SDNPA to act. Nobody spoke in favour of 5A.

We understand that the SDNPA’s case is that Highways England did not comply with planning law, in that they did not thoroughly research and present for consultation the impacts of solutions both inside and outside the National Park and that Highways England also did not have regard to the National Park’s Special Qualities or demonstrate how damage to these would be mitigated.

These points are based on fact, not opinion, and should stand up in a court of law.

The controversy may help to highlight the potential damage caused by Highways England’s solely road-based remit, and the need for a coherent transport policy covering all forms of transport.

As an editorial in a national newspaper put it on 24 May, ‘The government needs to encourage a virtuous circle of declining car use coupled with the increasing use of greener modes of public transport’.

Emma Tristram

Secretary, Arundel Bypass Neighbourhood Committee