Highways England want a Grey Future for the Arun Valley: but the fight goes on.Above - overlay of Highways England mapping on to Google Earth: Credit Brian Drury Below - A walk through Binsted Village - the impact of the Grey Route
On 15th October Highways England announced their Preferred Route for the A27 Arundel Bypass to be the Grey Route.
This reckless 8km new road project would devastate Arundel, surrounding villages, beautiful countryside and impact severely on the tranquility, views and wildlife of the South Downs National Park. Highways England are driving us towards climate meltdown.
You can see how Highways England themselves present this damaging proposal, by clicking on this link: https://highwaysengland.co.uk/our-work/south-east/a27-arundel-bypass/
They had conducted a sham consultation packed with half-truths, gappy and dodgy data, to drive forward their agenda of spending as much taxpayers' money on this project as they can get away with.
In spite of that, 64% of respondents told Highways England that out of the options on offer they would prefer an online option with a short bypass or nothing at all, and most of them also said what they reallyi wanted was the Arundel Alternative - a more sustainable and far less damaging short bypass with a wide single carriageway, costing less than one-third of the cost of the Grey Route.
So what did Highways England do? They ignored public opinion and chose a route which only 7% of the community wanted. Highways England's plan, as they have put it to affected property owners, is:
- Statutory Consultation on the Grey Route with all stakeholders in 2021
- Development Consent Order application to be submitted in 2022
- Development Consent Order approval in 2023
- Construction of the proposed route to start in 2024 with a 3 year construction programme thereafter.
But the fight goes on. Why? This is a sledgehammer to smash an essential part of England's natural resource, beauty, heritage and rural community. It will lead to local species extinctions as it severs connected habitats of ancient woodland and wetlands housing 14 bat species, the UK's biggest surveyed dormouse population, and many more. It will only make the climate emergency worse.
Here's a drone shot of Binsted's 12th-century Grade II listed village church, still a hub that brings the villagers together for it's peaceful beauty - but the Grey Route heads straight towards it across the field and the valley, which it crosses on a raised viaduct just above the churchyard level and only about 25 metres away:
Here are maps of the route:
The fight goes on!
What you could lose
– The quality of the Ancient Woodland
– Villages and communities
– Arundel’s watermeadows
– Rare chalk streams
– Endangered species
– Historic parkland– Diverse wildlife
– Local business
– Carbon stores
– Beauty and tranquillityThe photos above show some of the beautiful areas that would be devastated by Highways England’s scheme. Top: the River Arun at Tortington, Middle: Madonna Pond, Binsted, Bottom: approaching the Rife Valley from Walberton.
What’s the alternative?
Local residents are supporting a far less damaging solution called the Arundel Alternative - summary below, see next page on this site for more. The map below shows Highways England’s six route options, and the Arundel Alternative (yellow).In a nutshell: this is a 40mph wide-single carriageway, between the Ford Road roundabout and Crossbush junction. It has been designed to:– Avoid current pinch points
– Improve traffic flow
– Minimise carbon emissionsIt follows the same line as two of Highways England’s options, Beige and Cyan, which are expensive, 70mph dual carriageways that would increase traffic and cause great damage. By contrast, the 40mph Arundel Alternative is affordable and deliverable, and would meet traffic needs. It would have less impact on the town and surrounding communities, and protect the high-quality countryside. See 'How You Can Help' in the sidebar top right.
Seven reasons to support the Arundel Alternative
The Climate Crisis
The UK parliament has declared a climate and ecological emergency. Major new roads increase carbon emissions.
The Ecological Crisis
A dual carriageway would sever habitats and push wildlife species towards local extinction.
A major road scheme across the Arun Valley would increase flood risk.
‘Typically new roads lead to new journeys, filling up the additional space’ (National Infrastructure Commission).
Increased traffic from a 70mph, dual carriageway scheme at Arundel would increase delays at Fontwell, Worthing and Chichester.
The Arundel Alternative would allow traffic to flow without adding to congestion.
Keep Carbon Stored
We cannot afford to lose existing carbon stores like woodland and wetlands by destroying them with new roads.
Protect the Visitor Economy
Popular walks, views, wildlife and tourist businesses would be severely damaged by Highways England’s proposed dual carriageway options.
Economic and Planning Constraints
The Arundel Alternative is the most likely solution to be affordable economically, and to be acceptable to the Planning Inspectorate because it is less damaging.
The Arundel Alternative should be part of a low-emission, co-ordinated transport plan which would benefit everybody, including public transport, walking and cycling.
The photos above are: Top: View to Binsted Church from Scotland Lane; Middle: Boating on the Arun, south of Arundel; Bottom: View from Tortington to Arundel.
Watch this short video
produced by local people
about the Arun countryside at Binsted
We sang Climate Change Carols to Highways England at Christmas
Click here to download the trifold wordsheet