The Woodland Trust says it is delighted threatened ancient woodland has had a reprieve with the choosing of the grey route for the A27 Arundel Bypass.
Six route options had been proposed by Highways England for a road linking the existing dual carriageway on each side of Arundel in Sussex. All six options threatened irreplaceable ancient woodland or veteran trees. After public consultation in 2019, a route has now been chosen. It will affect a small number of veteran trees, but swathes of ancient woodland are now safe from the project.
Responding to the announcement on the preferred option for the A27 Arundel Bypass, Woodland Trust campaigner Nicole Hillier said:
“Nature is a necessity, not a luxury. Choosing the grey route means no irreplaceable ancient woodland – our rarest and most precious habitat – will be lost, which is a significant step forward. Infrastructure projects aimed at boosting the economy must always work alongside nature and ancient woodland, not against it.
“Investment needs to help us reduce our impact on nature and climate, not threaten it further. We are therefore welcoming today’s announcement as real progress. But the route chosen will still result in the loss of and damage to a small number of veteran trees, meaning there is still a net loss to the environment. We will continue to impress on Highways England the value of retaining these as a solution to climate change and havens for wildlife.
“While this option is a win for ancient woodland, it does not alter the fact road building schemes are not a sustainable transport solution. But we are pleased that Highways England at last appears to have listened to our concerns and those of thousands of our supporters when it comes to this precious natural resource.”