Green MEP backs Arundel campaigners A27 bypass legal bid, urges support for SCATE alternative

Green MEP, Keith Taylor, is backing local campaigners’ bid to fight the “hugely damaging” decision by Highways England to make a route through the South Downs National Park, ancient woodland and villages near Arundel its preferred option for an A27 bypass.

Highways England’s preferred Arundel bypass route, Option 5a, was announced on Friday, 11 May. The senior Green politician, in his submission to the original “extremely limited” consultation, described how “the landscape to the south and west of Arundel, which comprises a wealth of varied features including ancient woodland, ancient hedgerows and the medieval village of Binsted together with valleys, fields and the fenland grazing marshes of the Binsted and Tortington Rifes, would be decimated by Option 5a.”

On the announcement that the Arundel Bypass Neighbourhood Committee (ANBC) is planning to seek a judicial review of the decision, based on the “errors and bias in the consultation”, Mr Taylor, a member of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee, said:

“I offer my support to not only the ABNC but the wealth of local groups and opposition to this destructive decision that will lay waste to some of the most beautiful and important landscape that Arundel and the surrounding area has to offer. In return for decimating our countryside and the historic village of Binsted, the bypass promises to fail even on its own terms.”

“It’s true that the single biggest problem affecting the A27 is congestion but this proposal will only exacerbate the issue by encouraging more cars onto the road and nudging the congestion down the path to Chichester and Worthing. Decades of empirical studies and official reports have shown that increasing road capacity induces, not reduces, traffic.”

“Highways England’s plans are not fit for purpose. The money allocated to this scheme should instead be invested in integrated and sustainable mobility alternatives such as developing walking and cycling infrastructure, improving public and collective transport systems, and investing in electrified mobility – with a focus on e-bikes, trains, trams, and buses.”

Mr Taylor has long supported the efforts of grassroots organisations to come up with a more sustainable transport vision for their communities and is happy to support the ‘New Transport Vision‘ report from the South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment (SCATE) which will be launched in Arundel on Thursday, 17 May.

He continued:

“Instead, this entire consultation has been a sham. Not only has it excluded any sustainable alternatives, it has also rejected ideas from the local community. Residents and environmental groups including SCATE, the Campaign for Better Transport and CPRE Sussex all favour another more effective, cost-efficient and less environmentally damaging road-based option.“

“It is why I would have no hesitation in supporting, in any way I can, any legal action the ABNC decides to take to challenge this environmentally-destructive decision, routed in 20th Century infrastructure thinking.”