7 October 2012
A 17 year long fight to protect a beautiful and tranquil valley within walking distance of 140,000 people of Bexhill and Hastings received a major setback as the Hastings Alliance failed in its attempt at the High Court to secure a Judicial Review of the decision by the Department for Transport to financially support the scheme.
The Hastings - Bexhill Link Road has been described as 'the most environmentally harmful and least economically justifiable road scheme currently being proposed in England'. (see notes)
Sian Berry, National Sustainable Transport Campaigner for the Campaign for Better Transport said
“With this decision, no landscape is safe. It sends the message to local authorities up and down the country that no matter how expensive or environmentally calamitous the road, the Treasury is prepared not just support it but to pay for it. Local people need to be alert to what is happening in their area."
Nick Bingham, Chairman of the Hastings Alliance, said:
"The Department for Transport’s analysis of the scheme left it clearly skeptical of the overblown claims made by East Sussex County Council. We are very concerned that in this case, the Treasury has made decisions that should be for the Department for Transport to make. This contrasts with the certainty of environmental damage to the outstanding countryside of Combe Haven valley, enjoyed and prized for generations by local residents of Hastings and Bexhill. This is not lost on a new local group, the Combe Haven Defenders who demonstrated with their successful weekend camp in the valley that they are prepared to pursue peaceful direct action should bulldozers appear. It is notable and shocking that this scheme – the worst by far of 45 current transport schemes in England for CO2 emissions – is supported by the Minister for Climate Change, Bexhill MP, Greg Barker."
Mr Bingham concluded:
‘Put simply, this road scheme will be a needless blot on the landscape of a beautiful county. We will now consider our position and examine very carefully further options: the West Coast Main Line story reminds us government doesn’t necessarily make good financial decisions on transport’.
In March 2012, the Chief Executives of seven environmental organisations including the Campaign for Better Transport, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Campaign to Protect Rural England wrote to then Secretary of the of State for Transport, Justine Greening, urging her to not to fund the The Hastings - Bexhill Link Road. Full text of the letter can be found on the Campaign for Better Transport website.
Nick Bingham, 07768 193 900 / 01424 883319 firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign for Better Transport – East Sussex
Derrick Coffee, 07951 084436 / 01323 646866 email@example.com