More about the "Further Public Consultation"
30 Aug - 24 Oct 2019
This second non-statutory consultation took place because the Preferred Route decision that had been reached for Option 5A was arrived at by a fundamentally misleading 2017 consultation.
Highways England announced a Preferred Route (5A) on 11th May 2018: click here to read their announcement brochure. Despite the many faults of their consultation, including misinformation and spin towards 5A, some of which will be brought to the courts in the Judicial Reviews on 27-29 November, they have not retracted their Preferred Route announcement, even though on 12 Oct 2018 they were forced to announce the consultation would be re-run with more correct information.
Highways England have one job, to build roads, and their view is, the bigger the better. With what we now know about induced traffic, and the environment and climate emergency: this dinosaur organization still sees their remit as, simply, to lead us further down the dinosaur road. For the 2019 consultation, they employed a marketing organization, Copper Consultancy, to manipulate opinion in favour of a major new offline bypass route through Arundel's countryside. They issued PR videos selectively giving voice to those who promote major offline options, and ignoring the voices for sustainability.
What's needed is an Arundel solution that's Better but NOT Bigger. We support a lower impact, 40mph single carriageway version of what in previous consultations has been called Purple, Option 1, Cyan or Beige route. This would improve flow and resolve the tailbacks, without costing the earth.
Highways England's information about the Further Consultation can be found on www.highwaysengland.co.uk/a27arundel
All responses to the public consultation will be considered by our project team as part of the option selection process. A report on the public consultation will then be produced and considered alongside all other evidence as part of our work to identify a new preferred route early in 2020.
If you have any questions, you can contact Highways England on 0300 123 5000 (local rate), or email A27ArundelBypass@highwaysengland.co.uk
Highways England's opening message to stakeholders about this consultation can be read here. Highways England claimed the re-run was because of new environmental data: however the data was only 'new' to Highways England because they chose to ignore the data (including the finding of 13 species of bats) presented to them by the Arun Countryside Trust (MAVES) charity. They were forced by judicial review to rerun the consultation.
On 12 October, Highways England issued a Press Release: "Arundel Bypass - further consultation next spring". Faced with Judicial Review challenges they would have lost, both from the South Downs National Park Authority on the impacts on the Park, and from Dr Emma Tristram on the misleading nature of the consultation, Highways England agreed to run this fresh consultation in 2019, with new and better information and correction of errors, and with a fully open mind as to what Preferred Route they will then choose. Their August 2019 promotional videos, giving publicity to pro-major-offline bypass group OneArundel, already breached the commitment to a 'fully open mind'.
Highways England are still in Stage 2 'Options Selection'. They plan to announce a new Preferred Route in early 2020, to be followed in that year by a Statutory Consultation on the Preferred Route only. Preliminary Design Stage 3 would be followed by a statutory community consultation and application for development consent in 2021. Stage 4 deals with statutory procedures and powers to enable the work to proceed, culminating in examination by the Planning Inspectorate and decision by the Secretary of State for Transport. Stage 5 is construction preparation: construction is now planned to begin in 2022-3.
If the outcome of this consultation does not reasonably protect the countryside against landscape and habitat destruction, species loss and climate change, and adopt a lower cost and lower impact solution to improving traffic flow:
- We will fight the Statutory Consultation
- We will fight the Development Consent Order.
- We will object to the Planning Inspectorate.
- We will appeal to the public.
- We will object to the Secretary of State.
But long before we have got there Highways England will, we believe, be forced to recognize that any major offline bypass route would cost way over the £250M budget. Highways England's Alan Feist has said, "if that happens, we are in uncharted territory" - in other words back to the drawing board.
So, let's keep pushing for Highways England to choose an achievable, affordable and environmentally responsible solution, the Arundel Alternative. This will put an end to the incredibly destructive proposals we have been offered up to now, and also to queuing at Arundel's inadequately designed junctions - something for everyone.