9 March 2012: Seven green organisations have written to Transport Secretary Justine Greening urging her not to fund the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road.
Since last year the Treasury has appeared to have been on a mission to approve almost any kind of big infrastructure project, especially new roads, no matter how damaging these would be to our natural and historic resources, or how shaky the economic case for them may be.
In the Chancellor's Autumn Statement extra funding was given to the Department for Transport so that all 45 of the schemes in its competitive 'Development Pool' could potentially be given funding, and shortly afterwards the Department for Transport made the decision to put money into all but two of the roads in the pool.
Of the final two road proposals, the Waverley Link Road looks like it has been stopped for good, with Sheffield Council putting its foot down over playing fields on the land Rotherham Council wanted to use. But the fate of the beautiful Combe Haven valley in East Sussex still hangs in the balance as the final decision on the hugely destructive Bexhill-Hastings Link Road is still under consideration by transport ministers.
While local campaigners from the Hastings Alliance prepare for a crucial DfT meeting tomorrow to put the case for alternative plans that would do more to help the local economy, seven local and national organisations, including the heads of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Campaign to Protect Rural England and Campaign for Better Transport, have this week written to Transport Secretary Justine Greening.
Their letter calls the £86 million road, "the most environmentally harmful and least economically justified road scheme currently being proposed in England," and highlights how it would destroy the unique historic and natural resources of the Combe Haven valley while not helping to regenerate the local economy in the way the County Council claims.
The organisations are calling on the Transport Secretary to give a clear and final 'no' to funding this scheme, and say:
"It is clear that a final rejection of funding for the BHLR is needed now to trigger new thinking from local authorities in the area, as well as a more strategic approach to regeneration that does not involve destroying the tranquility of a valley of huge importance to the local community and environment, and with significant national heritage value. Please make the right decision this month and do not fund this proposal."
You can read the letter in full here: http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/files/letter-on-BHLR.pdf
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