Green opposition for Hastings to Bexhill link road plan

ENVIRONMENTAL lobby groups are urging the Government not to approve the Bexhill Link road in the next few days claiming it could be the most damaging scheme in England.

The Campaign for Better Transport, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Greenpeace UK, Friends of the Earth, Hastings Alliance, Sussex Wildlife Trust and Sussex Countryside Trust have written to the Secretary of State Justine Greening urging her not to approve the scheme.

They claim it is the most environmentally harmful and least economically justifiable road scheme currently being proposed in England.

A decision is due within the next few days and may even be announced in Wednesday’s budget.

Leaders of green groups are urging the scheme is not approved on the basis it would do huge irreparable environmental damage without delivering the local regeneration claimed by the road’s promoters.

Sian Berry, spokesman for the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “We see this decision as a key test for Government.

“One that will determine whether its aspiration to be the ‘greenest government ever’ is being overridden by a new drive to spend public money on infrastructure no matter how damaging or ineffective it will be.

“Not only would approving it shred the Government’s environmental credentials, it would also be a poor use of public money and will not provide the sustainable regeneration Hastings needs.”

In January, Hastings MP Amber Rudd launched an online petition in support of the scheme. At the time, she said: “Last year the Chancellor confirmed funding for the link road but then the Department for Transport decided it needed to review whether the link road is the best use of funds to achieve economic growth. I believe it is.”

The Bexhill-Hastings Link Road’s proposed route is through the middle of the Coombe Haven Valley, an area vital for nature and recreation, passing within metres of a Site of Special Scientific Interest and several Sites of Nature Conservation.

The area is also important historically as it includes the possible landing site for the Norman invasion in 1066 and could contain important archeological remains.

The road is the final major road scheme awaiting a funding decision from the Department for Transport. The funding decision was postponed in December when Ministers ordered East Sussex County Council to examine alternative road and public transport options for new housing and businesses that would be less environmentally damaging.