There seems to be tremendous enthusiasm amongst local politicians for big new road building projects along the A27 corridor. We in Eastbourne Friends of the Earth would like to point out the following:
The proposals will waste public money (road building is very expensive and often offers poor value for money).
The environmental costs will be far greater than it costs to build, say, a dual/single carriageway between Lewes and Eastbourne, because of the increase in air and noise pollution, increased carbon emissions, loss of countryside and tranquillity, and higher costs for the NHS and society in general).
Together, the road schemes will cause massive damage to the South Downs National Park and create pressure for even more damage to follow, as well as harming this important part of the local economy.
Time savings on the A27 will be offset by increasing congestion and delays in our towns and cities as more people are encouraged to drive.
There has been no proper public debate about all the options (none of which are based on sound evidence).
Better solutions are available, such as investing in public transport, walking and cycling. They would deliver better value for money and would reduce pressure on the A27, cause little or no harm to the National Park, be healthier, be quicker to implement in many instances and potentially cheaper. The coastal railway is being starved of investment yet runs parallel to the A27, while the coastal plain from Brighton to Hampshire is ideal terrain for Dutch/Danish levels of cycling.
We hope that a more informed, evidence-based public debate about the A27 road proposals will emerge soon.
Co-ordinator,Eastbourne & District Friends of the Earth.