Between 1992 and 1997 opposition to the government's road building scheme led to massive protests, such as here at the site of the Newbury Bypass. Photo: Antonio Olmos
Bexhill bypass puts road building back in the spotlight
18th January, 2011
Opponents say the controversial bypass will damage ancient woodlands, disturb wetland birds and impact on protected areas - and it's just one of 22 similar schemes currently awaiting approval. Jan Goodey investigates
Combe Haven Valley has been described as one of the finest undeveloped river valleys in the South-East. 'It experiences almost no traffic, [and] it is an exceptionally tranquil oasis in one of England's busiest regions,' according to one environmentalist. This is the type of outstanding landscape in the firing line thanks to the Coalition Government’s current road building policy, despite the hiatus which followed the nineties boom.
In this particular case, as Dominic Franklin, a veteran of the 90s' road protests says; the proposed Bexhill Bypass, 'would have a major impact on two sites of special scientific interest [Combe Haven and Marline Valley], in terms of habitat severance, disruption of hydrology, loss of ancient woodland, and disturbance to wetland bird populations [including lapwings and redshanks] and protected species like dormice.'
But before we look at national policy, it’s worth considering the arguments for and against this £95 million scheme as it does exemplify the issue and illustrate what's at stake. Tory MP for Hastings & Rye, Amber Rudd, and East Sussex County Council [ESCC] leader, Peter Jones, both claim the road is an essential part of regeneration strategy...
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