Transport campaigners bid to reduce use of private cars

Well supported: The launch of a New Transport Vision in Lewes
Well supported: The launch of a New Transport Vision in Lewes

A campaign for a new approach to transport in Sussex has been launched – with one of the objectives being to reduce dependence on private cars.

The South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment (SCATE) also seeks ‘to promote sustainable transport solutions, oppose damaging road building schemes and ensure the environment is properly valued’.

SCATE, a network of more than 30 organisations and businesses, launched a New Transport Vision for the Sussex Coast, at a meeting in Lewes.

Derrick Coffee, a founding member of SCATE who gave the main presentation, said many who attended signed-up to get more involved, to lobby for more sensible transport policies and spending in East Sussex.

He said: “We had a very positive reception to the report and what could be done to improve people’s transport choices without the need for expensive and highly damaging road schemes.

“While focussing on the many positive solutions that exist both here and abroad, we also highlighted what was at stake if we continued to focus on bigger and new roads.”

SCATE is concerned that the current road building programme is threatening the South Downs National Park. It said it also threatens local economies and people’s health as traffic levels will rise in towns and cities along the A27, unless local and national government start to act on traffic reduction and promoting alternatives to the car.

New development also needs to be sited where it is well served by public transport and contain local facilities people can easily walk and cycle to, SCATE said.

Member Vic Ient, who is also a local Lewes district councillor, said: “It was great to see such a wide range of organisations attending. We were pleased to see local councillors present including the chair of Selmeston Parish Council who is particularly concerned about proposals to build a motorway style road through the countryside east of Lewes.”

Mr Coffee added: “We hope the study and its recommendations will enrich the debate around transport and planning in East Sussex. This is something that is long overdue.

“The current approach isn’t working and we need to come up with a positive strategy that will serve the needs of future generations.”