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News Release, Wednesday, 16 July, 2014

A27 dualling could cost the city

Brighton & Hove Friends of the Earth (BHFOE) is calling on Brighton & Hove City Council to reject the Conservative Notice of Motion to support the A27 Action Campaign [1] at the Full Council meeting tomorrow [2].  Apart from the fact that dualling the A27, particularly around Worthing, would be extremely costly, BHFOE does not believe it is in the interests of the city.  Also, it is sceptical that there is any evidence that it would boost economic growth.

New roads generate more traffic and that will increase congestion and pollution within the city as more people are tempted to drive along the south coast.  This would also undermine public transport and put the city’s road network under further stress while reducing the transport options for tourists visiting the city.  Much of the traffic on the A27 is local traffic and requires local transport solutions, not big new roads.

Chris Todd from BHFOE said:

“Many councillors spent years supporting the creation of the South Downs National Park.  Now they risk throwing much of that away if they support the A27 Action Campaign.  This group’s aim to see the A27 dualled along its whole length would be extremely costly economically and environmentally.  If successful, it could then lead to more roadbuilding around Brighton & Hove, and cause huge damage to the South Downs.

“Rather than going backwards we need to be moving forward with ideas and solutions fit for the 21st century.  Many of the concerns businesses have could be addressed by small online improvements, such as a new junction at Crossbush, and by measures to reduce traffic.  If as they claim traffic and congestion is so bad yet so critical to the economy it begs the questions:  Why are we doing relatively well along the south coast?  And secondly, why have local authorities, aside from Brighton & Hove, done so little to promote walking, cycling and public transport and traffic reduction measures?”

“Given the cost of doing anything around Worthing – a tunnel is like to be of the order of £2 billion – it is unlikely the A27 will be dualled any time soon.  This campaign is only raising false hope while failing to tackle the real problem of there being too much traffic.  Car journeys don’t start and end on the A27, they start and end in the towns and cities adjacent to it.  These are the places where the congestion will transfer to.  The city’s energy and efforts would be far better focussed on tackling the real issues of our day:  climate change [3], air pollution, obesity, diabetes, mental health are putting the NHS under severe strain and costing it billions.  Isn’t it about time we had some joined up thinking and started promoting healthier transport choices?”

[1]   The Conservative Notice of Motion states:  “In order further to promote business investment and economic growth in the Greater Brighton area this Council resolves to pledge its support to the newly-formed A27 Action campaign.”

[2]   BHCC’s Full Council meeting is taking place on Thursday, 17 July, 4.30pm Council Chamber, Brighton Town Hall.

[3]   The UK’s Committee for Climate Change yesterday published a report saying that we are unlikely to meet our carbon reduction targets without greater action.  Building new roads increase carbon emissions and will make this task even harder and more costly.

 

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The second round of consultation on the Rampion wind farm is currently underway and will finish on 8 August, 2012.  Brighton & Hove Friends of the Earth (BHFOE) is urging people to get involved and let their views be known.  It is supportive of the proposals as it believes we need to take urgent action to tackle climate change.  However, it is disappointed with the level of detail provided in the draft Environmental Statement produced by E.ON which it feels is inadequate.  It would like to see more justification and evidence as to why a shorter cable route through the South Downs National Park is not possible and it would also like to see proposals to mitigate and compensate the visual impact on the Heritage Coast – the undeveloped coastline of the South Downs between Seaford and Eastbourne.

It does not believe that the impact on the National Park has been taken seriously enough and wants E.ON to review its proposals.  Another example of a failure to understand the importance of the National Park is in the way that E.ON is taking the cable across the South Downs Way.  For example, E.ON is proposing that where the cable crosses National Cycle Routes it will be done without disturbing the cycle routes so that they can remain open all of the time.  BHFOE welcomes this but is questionning why this same approach is not being applied to the South Downs Way which is probably better used and more important to the local economy.

BHFOE is also calling on the developers to establish a visitor / educational centre to be established in the Brighton – Shoreham area to increase awareness about climate change and renewable energy.

BHFOE has produced a flier outlining its concerns.  Please take the opportunity to have your say.

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