Highways England (HE) have been destroying swathes of crops, and putting in place robotic security units in fenced compounds, in multiple locations along the 8km route of the proposed Arundel bypass. If you approach, they play a loud recording saying ‘Warning! This is security! Your presence has been detected. The owner and police have been informed.’ They are guarding equipment doing investigative work such as drilling rigs for boreholes. Some villagers have already had to sell their properties to Highways England, which leads a double life as a road-building and property speculation company.
All this makes many people think the road is going ahead, but actually the scheme is only in its early planning stages.
HE have also let the contract for the scheme to construction company BAM Nuttall. This is unusually early, and feels like it is a race against time, because they know that Covid changes and the Climate and Environment Emergency have made transport experts and campaigners question the whole £27bn roads programme. It has also done BAM Nuttall a great service at a stretching time for them: people are asking, who had shares in BAM Nuttall?
Highways England are racing to destroy cultural, environmental, community and national goods. Highways England do not act in the public interest. They act in the interests of the road construction companies, their shareholders and beneficiaries. They have done their best to fiddle the Value for Money figures but this Arundel Bypass Grey Route project remains a reckless misuse of half a billion pounds of public money.
That is 500 times the £10M which JCB Research have donated to conservative party funds according to wikipedia, and a hundred thousand times the amount of the £5000 donation which MP Andrew Griffith is said to have received from JCB heir Joseph Bamford in 2020 prior to securing an enlarged budget for this project to enable the Grey Route. But since then, he has been appointed the government's Climate Net Zero business tsar. So, when will he withdraw his support from the Grey Route and speak up for his constituents and for his new mission to the world our children will live in?
Meanwhile, the Transport Action Network (TAN) legal action against the roads programme, based on its failure to fulfil the Government’s Climate Change commitments, is due to be heard in the High Court on 29 June, with a decision following within a few months. TAN have a second legal case in progress against Grant Shapps’ decision not to review the National Policy Statement for National Networks (the main transport policy, not revised since 2014) although his officials advised him to do so. See https://transportactionnetwork.org.uk/ for more about TAN and the case against road building.