Why not spend Arundel bypass funding on trains, buses and cycle routes?

I was dismayed to read that the Government is proposing to spend up to £455million on a new stretch of A27 trunk road west of Arundel, writes reader Chris Hare, of Sussex Road, Worthing.

DM17311213a.jpg. A27, Arundel. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170703-121946008
DM17311213a.jpg. A27, Arundel. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170703-121946008

At a time when the economy is reeling from both the pandemic and Brexit, how can this expenditure be justified? Surely modest online improvements are all that is required?

Leaving aside the grievous impact on the landscape and neighbouring villages, so many other questions of concern are raised by this extraordinary decision.

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Have we not learned by now that new roads only encourage more traffic? Just look at the M25 as a grim warning. We desperately need to reduce road miles travelled. If we are at all serious about mitigating and adapting to climate change how can a policy to increase road traffic volume possibly be justified?

Covid has resulted in far more people working from home. Now that both employers and employees can see how successful home working can be it seems reasonable to predict that this will become the ‘new normal.’ People simply won’t be travelling to work again by car in the way they once did. So this should mean less cars on the road. This trend should be welcomed and not discouraged.

Roads are currently busier now because fear of infection has reduced the number of journeys by public transport. Studies have shown that public transport is safer than people imagine and adaptation measures will only help increase the confidence of the travelling public. What the sector could do with is public investment. How about £455million for local trains, buses and cycle routes rather than for five miles of new road?

Time and experience has also shown that new roads near urban areas encourages housing infill. Back in the 1990s when I was a county councillor, I opposed the building of the Angmering bypass partly because I feared infilling. I was accused of being alarmist and of scaremongering. Anyone visiting eastern Angmering today can judge for themselves whether my fears were justified.

I really hope that people of all political persuasions and none will unite together to oppose this motorway madness at Arundel.