Update June 2008

A year ago, East Sussex County Council (ESCC) applied for planning consent for the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road (BHLR).

Government"s own bodies object to BHLR

There were almost 2000 objections to the scheme and only a handful of representations in support. The objectors included two of the three Statutory Environmental Bodies (SEBs): The Environment Agency, and Natural England. The third body, English Heritage, raised significant doubts about the scheme being presented.

These three government bodies are charged with protecting and enhancing landscapes, biodiversity and common heritage for all of us, and for future generations. Protection of water quality and prevention of pollution are included in the Environment Agency"s responsibilities.

To accompany its planning application, ESCC had to produce an Environmental Statement (ES) describing the negative environmental impacts of BHLR, and how ESCC was planning to overcome them. As a result of the objections raised by the SEBs, and other organisations and individuals, ESCC has had to look again at its ES. The latest information we have is that a draft has been sent to the planning department and that the publication of the fully revised ES will be in mid-June.

The most recent conversation with ESCC officers suggest that:

Public consultation based on the new ES, and also necessary because the BHLR road scheme was absent from district, borough and county planning documents, could take place in July.

Their current aspiration is for the BHLR scheme to be considered at the planning committee on October 8th.

The objections and significant doubts raised by the SEBs are of concern to us because one of the conditions placed alongside ministerial approval for BHLR was that ESCC, the promoters of the scheme, should –

– work closely with the Statutory Environmental Bodies to ensure that appropriate environmental mitigation measures are incorporated as the scheme is taken forward, particularly in view of the adverse environmental impacts identified in the appraisal.

Well, there certainly were meetings with the SEBs prior to the planning application. But these appear to have been a waste of time and money since in the end, two SEBs objected, and one raised significant doubts. It seems that either the minister’s condition was ignored, or the design work and processes were not competently carried out, understood, or fit for purpose.

The SEB’s objections and concerns can be briefly summarised as follows:

Environment Agency – Insufficient attention given to flood risk in north Bexhill; severance of habitats by the road, making the divided parts unviable for survival of species; loss or disruption of several types of habitat of national importance; failure to quantify impacts; ignorance of government guidance.

Natural England – Failure to identify a protected site of national importance for wildlife; threats to nationally important sites from polluted runoff not acknowledged; landowners not consulted on mitigation measures proposed on their land; effects of the road are described as being both beneficial and adverse to the survival prospects of protected dormice populations; general ignorance of adverse effects of the BHLR and its traffic on several species, habitats and ecosystems.

English Heritage – Incomplete investigations into heritage resources within Coombe Haven which together represent over three thousand years of human habitation and activity; consequent ignorance of mitigation measures that would protect or enhance the resources, anticipated to be of national significance; in the light of all this, ignorance over the resource implications of implementing the necessary mitigation measures.

Will the new Environmental Statement be any better than the failed old one?

How effectively ESCC have addressed the concerns of the SEBs we won’t know until the revised ES is published. We don’t believe that any ‘close working’ with the SEBs has taken place since objections were lodged, so the revised ES will have to be closely examined.

There will be a need for ESCC to ‘re-advertise’ the BHLR scheme because it had not been included in local planning documents. This was a serious and probably costly error. The re-advertising will include press releases as well as exhibitions, with information from the revised ES, and we will have to be ready for this. This is the point at which we have to object and it is likely that we’ll have three weeks to do so. Watch out for information in the media and also on the Hastings Alliance website!

BHLR – Double the original cost.

Another condition imposed by the minister on approving the scheme was that:

‘ the gross and net costs of the scheme remain unchanged’

The approved figure for BHLR was £47m (2004); the current figure is £89m – almost double the original costs. The condition has therefore been seriously breached. The ‘current’ figure is at least 17 months old now, so it may have to be revised, especially in the light of any extra mitigation measures needed to meet the concerns of the SEBs.

The Regional Assembly’s ‘Regional Transport Board’, which bids to government for funds, has asked ESCC to prepare a new economic appraisal of BHLR. When this is done, the Department for Transport will carry out its own ‘revised value for money assessment’ in the light of the major cost increase.

What else could be provided for the same, or even a lot less money?

Although it’s not quite that simple, it’s a perfectly valid question to ask. Member groups of the Hastings Alliance have been campaigning for alternatives to car travel for decades, and politicians have begun to listen:

Once a key proposal among regeneration schemes for Hastings and Bexhill, Glyne Gap station seems to have been quietly forgotten. It has been one our aims for twenty years. The leisure and retail complex sits at a point on the A259 where it fills up with 31,000 vehicles a day. The Alliance is working to get politicians working on getting the station built.

The Alliance supported Sustrans in their campaign to win Lottery funding to build a safe cycle route between Bexhill and Hastings. Funding of £380,000 has been pledged; that’s roughly half the cost. Now we need ESCC to progress the scheme and add their share of funding.

We have also worked hard – without success so far – to introduce 20mph speed limits in residential areas of Hastings and other East Sussex towns to create conditions for safe walking and cycling conditions, particularly for children.

Towns such as Peterborough, Darlington and Worcester have invested in alternatives and achieved huge reductions in traffic (on average: 12%), accompanied by impressive increases in walking (22%);

Cycling (47%) and public transport (16%). (Figures from Department for Transport, 2006)

Why not Hastings and Bexhill?

In an era of concern over the effects of climate change gas emissions and with finite supplies of oil currently at $130 a barrel, the Alliance is strongly committed to seeking and promoting sustainable transport solutions for a better local and global environment.

Watch our website for further updates.

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TV appearance November 2007

The Hastings Alliance will gain valuable publicity by appearing in an ITV documentary “Focus” on 13th November 2007.

The programme will feature Jenny Yeo, who has been driven from her farm in the Combe Valley by the proposal to build a new road, and Nick Bingham, chairman of the Hastings Alliance.

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Natural England submits objection

Natural England – the Statutory Environment Body formed through a merger between the Countryside Agency and English Nature – has put in an official objection to the proposed Bexhill-Hastings Link Road.

They make three main objections:

  • The potential impact to Marline Valley Woods SSSI [Site of Special Scientific Interest] has not been adequately assessed or mitigated for. 
  • The potential impact to Combe Haven SSSI has not been adequately assessed or mitigated for. 
  • The potential impact on protected species has not been adequately assessed or mitigated for.

The objection from Natural England lists numerous mistakes in the Environmental Statement submitted by East Sussex Council. Read the full text of Natural England’s objection

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Over 1800 objections to proposed link road

Since the start of the official objection period on 25th May 2007,
the County Council has counted 1,854 objections to the proposed link road, 49 expressions of support, and 8 “other”.
Council staff are still working their way through the flood of objections and preparing a report for the Council.
You can read some of the objections here.

The following is just a selection of the hundreds and hundreds of objections
from members of the public that have been submitted through this web site.


 I am writing to register my objection to the above application. I ask that
this application be turned down primarily due to its likely impacts on
biodiversity. The construction of this road would contravene planning law and
policy.

Roads can directly remove habitats and interfere with water quality and
hydrology of wetlands. Roads are known to reduce the densities of breeding birds
(e.g. Reijnen, et al. 1997).

Adams Farm
East Sussex County Council: �he finest medium sized valley outside the High Weald AONB�

If built, this road would directly impact Combe Haven Site of Special
Scientific Interest (SSSI), the largest reedbed in Sussex, which is recognised
as being of national importance for its nature conservation interest. Any new
road here is likely to increase water pollution and disrupt the hydrology within
this sensitive wetland. It is likely to disturb uncommon breeding birds
including some that are specially protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and
Countryside Act (1981), for example the Cetti’s warbler.

The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (the NERC Act) creates
a duty for every public authority to conserve biodiversity. The Act applies to
County Councils, District Councils and Parish Councils.

The Duty is created by Section 40 (1) of the Act.


 I am writing to object to this planning application, and ask that this letter
be placed before Members of the Planning Committee as they consider the
application.

My reasons for objecting are:

1. Oil reserves are much smaller than published by OPEC and BP so oil will
run out soon making the road pointless. My source for this is Danny Clark Lowes,
an oil exploration geologist and contemporary at Cambridge University who
lectures widely on the subject of "reserve
exaggeration"

2. It will encourage increased economically useless journeys including
through journeys thereby increasing CO2 emissions and contributing to
global warming/climate change. You are required to reduce emissions.

3. The increased through traffic treating the new road as a bypass will
overload The Ridge for local traffic necessitating another link road to the east
of Hastings. In the meantime local journeys will be paralysed. Once we have a
complete bypass the link roads that form this bypass will produce enormous
increase in through traffic paralysing the new roads for locals and increasing
emissions. The east bypass will threaten an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

4. We need improved public transport between Bexhill and Hastings “
trains, buses and directly routed cycle ways. The proposed cycleways along the
link route are pointless as cyclists will always choose the most direct,
flattest, most picturesque route which is along the coast. The money should be
spent on public transport on existing roads not the new road.

5. We do not need new housing developments and if we did we do not need the
new road to serve them. We need to improve the quality of housing in existing
developed areas so that economically useful people want to live in them.

6. The road would contribute to the destruction of an outstandingly beautiful
area.

7. Nationally our road congestion problem needs a new system of taxation
which discourages economically useless journeys, and national policies which
encourage movement of population to the north from the increasingly crowded
south of England. Compared with this the new road is sticking plaster to the
problem and ill conceived sticking plaster at that.


I am writing to register my strong objection to the above application. I ask
that this application be turned down because the scheme will compromise an AONB
in a heavily threatened part of SE England. Hastings and Bexhill Council are
duty bound to produce a serious, well thought out, sustainable transport policy
for the area


 I am writing to voice my strong objections to the Hastings/Bexhill link road.

It will destroy the lovely Combe Haven valley, the name says it all. A haven
for wildlife and landscape will be ruined and future generations will not thank
you for that.

The numbers of vehicles being introduced into a previously virgin area is
obscene and Government guidance on alternative strategies has been ignored.
Additional CO2 will be generated, all against Government policy.

In my own area, the A1474 ring road was built to relieve congestion. It has
done none of it. The traffic has merely been moved from one area to another and
got worse because the main problem of road congestion has not been addressed.

Please take my concerns into account in your decision making process and
notify me of the outcome.


 I strongly object to building a new road to link Bexhill and Hastings:

- it flies in the face of the obvious unsustainability of increased road use
and traffic and its contribution to global warming. I can’t believe it complies
with national policy on this. If it does, our children are facing a ruined
world.

- the full socio-economic benefits are not evident.

- no proper investment has been made in public transport development in East
Sussex on the scale of the county’s road-building programme

- it will destroy a beautiful bit of countryside, and pollute a very wide
area, for ever – an irreversible degradation of the East Sussex environment.

- it’s absurd that it’s claimed to be essential for housing development.
Better bus and rail services ARE essential.

Please don’t go ahead with this daft, cruel proposal.


 Please, please don’t do this until you have thoroughly exhausted all other
possibilities.

Once this beautiful valley is destroyed it will be gone forever!


 I am writing to register my objection to the above application. I ask that
this application be turned down because:

It is too expensive


 I object to this scheme. About 11 years ago I objected to the hugely damaging
Pevensey-Bexhill-Hastings scheme, which was then part of a plan to create a
superhighway along the south coast. It is astonishing that this primitive
ambition should still be there in this time when one would think that
responsible people would be concerned about the terrifying threats to the
environment that we face.

Not so apparently with the backward authorities of East Sussex. They have
seemingly learned nothing in the last eleven years. Astonishingly they still
seem to have the strange notion that a road scheme like this will actually bring
economic benefit to Hastings. Surely it is well known now
that roads go two ways and can suck activity out of an area just as easily as
bring it in? In fact as a seaside town Hastings has all the peripherality that
makes economic degradation the most likely result of road building (the Calabria
effect).

Isn’t it time for the local authorities to actually do some thinking about
what it is that might make Hastings a place people want to come and visit? Isn’t
the quality of its urban environment, its seaside and its rural setting (some of
which is lovely) exactly what it should most value?

Of course as usual with authorities that still live in the 1970s there is no
thinking about whether any transport problem is solved by this road or whether
that problem can be addressed in other more efficient and more environmental
ways. Road building should be the option of last resort -
how can this be demonstrated if the local authorities have not thought even for
a moment about any alternatives?

I am sure the local authorities in East Sussex will be lecturing their
ratepayers on how they should switch to energy-saving lightbulbs and turning
their TVs off standby. Yet 8 years away from what the climate scientists are
calling the ‘tipping point’ here we have an authority prepared to build a scheme
which quite deliberately and significantly increases carbon emissions. This is
shameful behaviour.


 I was a student in E Sussex and walked regularly in the areas affected by
this application. My motivation for responding to this application is my belief
that we cannot conduct business as usual in the face of rising man-made
greenhouse gas emissions. As planners you are still useful professionals shaping
the future of society in a broader sense than purely an economic one. Many
people across the entire environmental movement are following this particular
roadscheme.


 I am writing to object to this application and request that it be refused for
the many following reasons.

The County Council have made no attempt to even consider any alternatives to
this destructive barbaric scheme.

A Tram link system would be a wonderful, environmental alternative very
similar to the Tram system in the Croydon, Sutton,Wimbledon and Shirley area.
This would/could run from Ore to Hastings Old Town then along the seafront to St
Leonards on to Bexhill and then follow the old Railway
where possible back to Ore ensuring that the route goes close to as many schools
as possible thereby reducing the ‘school runs’ which are mainly responsible for
the heavy morning and afternoon traffic along the Bexhill Road and along the
Ridge


 We are writing to object to the planning application RR/2474/CC(EIA)
Hastings/Bexhill link Road on the grounds that the proposed road is
significantly different to that put forward in the public consultation. In
particular:

  • The estimated cost has increased to £89 million from the £42 million
    originally approved.
  • The size of the road increased from 7.5m to 10.5m wide.
  • The environmental works now include extensive bondings and lagoons.
  • Altogether the scheme is roughly twice the size of the original proposal.
    The social, economic and environmental issues this raises need to be
    thoroughly addressed thoroughly and openly. We would therefore ask Ruth
    Kelly MP Secretary of State for Communities and local Government to “call
    in” this application for a public enquiry.


 We will find one day that we have traded away what makes life worth living –
beauty, natural wonder and communion — in exchange for a quick fix of speeding
off to nowhere to make a few more quid. Can it ever be worth it?

That is why I am writing to register my objection to the above application. I
ask that this application be turned down because it is harmful to our children
and our deeper selves.


 Development of the proposed road would result in loss of irreplaceable
ancient woodland, contrary to Planning Policy Statement 9, which articulates the
Government’s view of the importance of conserving ancient woodland and
preserving it as a valuable biodiversity resource.

Further damage to, and loss of, ancient woodland will result from the opening
of the eastern edge of Bexhill for residential and other development.


 I understand that the Council has not carried out a full analytical review of
alternative solutions to traffic congestion in the area. There is a lack of
forethought and a failure to consider the bigger picture in terms of air, noise
and light pollution, and the problems associated with climate change. Non-road
options have never been offered.


 I am writing to register my objection to the above application. I ask that
this application be turned down because:

The solution seeks to relocate, rather than resolve, the issue of congestion
and inappropriate car usage.

It is not part of a sustainable transport policy – it is a knee jerk reaction
to the undoubted problems faced by residents and campaigners on the Bexhill
Road.

There is no firm evidence to support the regeneration arguments put forward
in its favour.

The area, and especially the people of Bexhill Road, could benefit from a £89m
investment in many more far-sighted ways.

The scheme will attract, not disperse, traffic – as as been the case with the
Newbury bypass.

It is indicative of the antiquated thinking and abuse of natural resources
which have made climate change a major threat to the welfare of future
genrations.

Finally, and most importantly, IT WILL NOT WORK! Just ask anyone at the
Dartford Crossing on Monday morning if the construction of the M25 Orbital has
resolved their transport difficulties.


 I am writing to register my strongest objections towards the Bexhill to
Hastings link road.As a resident of London road, Bexhill, the proposed link road
would be situated almost at the bottom of our garden where at the moment we
enjoy wonderful peace and solitude. If this link road goes ahead we will find
ourselves sandwiched between two very busy, noisy smelly roads ( London Road is
a constant stream of noisy cars that go far too fast and the link road will be a
mirror image of this) that will totally destroy our
quality of life.

It would also destroy one of the last natural wildlife havens left in Bexhill
town.Also our three cats would most certainly get run over. The old railway line
is part of their territory as well as many other creatures including badgers and
foxes.  Also the new road will create even more traffic on our roads and
with that pollution. Surely with national and regional policy on climate change
we should be discouraging people from using roads by providing suitable
alternatives. By building this link road pollution and carbon emmisions in the
area will increase tenfold.

Please consider turning down this application and consider a comprehensive
and sustainable transport strategy for Hastings and Bexhill that will not have
such a dire effect on its residents and on the environment.


 Train services have deteriorated massively since the 60s when I lived there.

The Polegate by pass is now considered by locals to be a disaster. 
There is very little economic regeneration, and so those claims for the Hastings
road should be dismissed

Again the Polegate bypass has increased traffic and has not addressed the
underlying issues. Similar with the Hastings bypass


 Building new roads to tackle congestion is like loosening your
belt to tackle obesity.


 Everyone is aware of the problems with traffic on the Ridge. The number of
vehicles using the road is already well beyond its design capacity. This is
apparent from the continuous congestion problems.

We already know of the plans for the expansion of the Ivyhouse Lane and
Castleham Industrial estates as well as nearly a thousand new houses at Ore
Valley and Fredrick Road. All of this will generate a large increase in traffic
on The Ridge. Add to this the proposal for the Link Road
to take traffic from Ravenside across Pebsham to join Queensway at Crowhurst
Road and there will be complete chaos on The Ridge and misery for Residents, not
just on The Ridge, but on the adjacent roads.

The Western bypass proposal which would have had the same impact as the Link
Road, was rejected by the Minister Stephen Byers. The Access to Hastings Multi
Modal Study said that there would be a minimum ten fold increase in the traffic
on Queensway with construction of the bypass. Because of
the impact this would have on The Ridge and residents living along the road the
authors of the Study rejected any plans for the Western bypass if a link was not
provided to take the traffic across country to rejoin the A259 at Guestling
Thorn. They said [Paragraph 9.22]:

"Strategy 4 examined a scenario in which the Western Bypass was
constructed without the Eastern Bypass. In chapter 8, we have set out our
findings on the viability of this option. This concludes that it is neither
practical nor desirable to construct the Western bypass in
isolation."

However, this is exactly what is being proposed with the Link Road plans. It
is clear that the Town and County are ignoring the study conclusions and local
residents concerns over the state of The Ridge, and the impact on local
residents. The Town and County seem to be determined to ensure that The Ridge
becomes more congested than Bexhill Road.

My concerns are not just about resident’s quality of life. The Ridge has
three schools, the Hospital and Fire Station. What impact will all this traffic
have on these. School children suffering increased incidents of Asthma and other
respiratory illnesses. Delays for the emergency services, with potential fatal
consequences.


 This whole scheme is out of date and in the light of the need to take urgent
action over climate change, utterly irresponsible, since traffic and emissions
will increase overall. No scheme which cannot be proven to substantially reduce
traffic levels and emissions should even be considered now.


 Evidence shows that road building is associated with increased motor traffic,
resulting in greater environmental cost for lesser economic benefit. I ask that
this application be turned down in favour of devoting resources to developing
more sustainable transport options such as rail, bus, cycling and walking.


 It MUST be realised that the answer to traffic congestion is NOT ‘more
roads’.

Alternative solutions have to be found, including public transport and
reducing the need for private travel.


 There is no doubt in my mind that climate change is the
most serious issue facing the world today. It could lead to the planet becoming
uninhabitable, and then what use would roads be ?


 If this Link Road is essential, then I am sure road building projects in the
developing nations are even more "essential". If the rest of the world
used non renewable oil at the same rate as this nation does, we will be lucky to
keep temperature rises in this century under 6 degrees Celsius warmer than the
start of the Industrial Revolution, never mind 20C, which is the
hope. If you are not prepared to fight climate change locally, then why should
the rest of the world fight it globally?

WAKE UP!


 Finally, please consider the wider implications of the terrible example every
sanctioned road development gives to the rest of the world. This country is
meant to be a world leader in the fight against climate change, setting an
example to the rest of the world. Why should the rest of the world take us
seriously, when we seemingly cannot wean ourselves off the addiction to road
building, with the inevitable corresponding increase in congestion, pollution,
climate changing emissions and the ever increasing use of non renewable oil
reserves.

Please, come to your senses, and find sustainable alternatives that you and
the nation can be proud of!


 You should be encouraging greener and healthier alternatives to ever more
motor traffic, instead of encouraging more. You could make an enormous
difference to local transport problems by spending this money on promoting and
facilitating alternatives to cars, vans and lorries. You
need to take a genuine look at other ways to spend these millions of pounds
instead of drawing up detailed plans to spend it on roads and then looking for
ways ti dismiss the alternatives. What are you so keen to drive a juggernaut
through our countryside when there are alternatives if only you would open your
eyes?


 The environmental impact of the road (and its associated developments) on
Combe Haven, a SSSI and acknowledged as one of the most beautiful remaining
unspoilt valleys in East Sussex, would be unacceptable in terms of landscape,
heritage, wildlife, water quality, noise and pollution.

And we don’t need yet another bleak green field business park!


 Traffic problems would be better solved by initiatives to reduce the number
of people driving rather than old-fashioned "build more roads and move them
elsewhere" solutions which have been found not to work everywhere else in
the country!


 With the environmental crisis we currently face it is essential that we do
everything we can to encourage people to use more sustainable forms of transport
than driving. regrettably, building more roads will have the opposite effect.

Put simply, there will be more traffic if the road is built compared to no
road.

The cost of building the road seems to keep increasing. This money would be
much better spent on improving sustainable transport, ie better cycling
facilities and public transport, if you are serious about tackling climate
change and the depletion of our natural resources.

There will be a terrible impact on biodiversity in the area as well as noise
and pollution which will decrease the quality of life for people living in the
area which would be affected by this.


 We are now in a completely different situation with the effects of climate
change. All road building plans now have to be looked at again to find the
sustainable alternatives.

Any additional road space is likely to increase vehicle miles. All
authorities ought to discourage vehicle use to enable transport CO2
emissions to be reduced.


 The devastating environmental and financial cost of this road scheme is
simply not justified and East Sussex CC have failed to consider seriously
seeking central Government support for an improved frequent
"metro-style" train service between Bexhill and Ore
with new stations to fill the existing longer gaps, and improved rail
infrastructure between Ore and Ashford to permit more frequent and longer
trains, and encourage motorists to switch travel modes accordingly. Most
importantly East Sussex CC are clearly failing to address the increasing wider
community concerns that more roads and traffic will worsen the environment, and
that this type of solution to congestion is hopeless, and should be consigned to
history.


 The West of England is in the same position. Increased road building despite
the fact that we have a suburban rail infrastructure which is underused.

The government (and all major political parties) are submitting to the
commercial interests of road builders, the oil lobby and undertakers. Aren’t
3000 deaths on the road enough?


 It dismays me that Hastings is back on the agenda as a location for the
building of a damaging road scheme. Government policy is for the reduction of
carbon emissions, and local government has a role to play in this being
achieved. You are in the process of flouting this policy and with no good cause.


 There are many parallels between these proposals and equally destructive and
unsustainable road plans for Derby -ie the proposed completion of the inner ring
road. Neither road plan takes account of the millions of tonnes of carbon
dioxide which will be produced by additional traffic
causing more burning of fossil fuels, which this Government is also pledged to
conserve by having signed EU Sustainability Objectives.


 I plead with you to reconsider your plan to build a new Bexhill Hastings link
road for the following reasons and would appreciate a reply from you.

My sisters and I spent a week last year in Sussex and stayed in Bexhill and
visited Combe Haven Valley. Because we enjoyed the scenery and the area so much
we returned again this year (2 weeks ago)and were very sad to hear about local
council plans to build a ring road through the valley
area.

Here in N Ireland we have a bad record of preserving areas of natural beauty
and heritage in general. It’s a problem of culture diversity, politics and just
general apathy. You people in England have no excuse but have every reason to
protect your green and beautiful land. You have also fantastic villages and
towns etc within lovely natural valleys and hills abound with trees and
fantastic views.

It’s that what attracts me to English holidays and so I wonder does the
tourist industry support your proposed road plan?

It is a known fact that every additional road build for ease of traffic
congestion merely encourages additional vehicular use and within less than 5
years creates more congestion with more road use. I
appreciate the problems for the residents of the existing main road but there is
nothing to suggest that the new ring road will ease their problem of through
traffic. Nor will it likely have any advantage to anyone but
will only increase taxes for no good reason.

Surely the projected cost of the new road £89 million would be be more
wisely spent on reducing road traffic rather than increasing it? Short term
costly answers are unwise.

As a council you could gain national acclaim by using half of the money to
gain greatly reduced road traffic.

  • Reduce school traffic by introducing the "Walking
    Bus" programme with the added bonus of having healthier children
    with good road safety knowledge.
  • Invest in improved public transport.
  • Create cycle routes.
  • Encourage local buying of local/national produce by town/village
    shops and use brownfield sites for retail development.
  • In general ensure that you as a council and as individual representatives
    act for your people in a moral and honest way.

It makes no sense to me that you as the local government support this very
obvious environmentally unfriendly road project even though the official
government message day and daily via the media and posters etc asks us to cut
our global footprints.

The East Sussex people voted for you so they are entitled to get their
money’s worth with honesty.


 Although I do not live in the Coombe Valley I feel that I have a right to be
very concerned about any major new road. The expansion of our road network is
simply not sustainable on a local, national and international level. To grant
permission for this road will just ensure more cars, lorries etc, less
biodiversity and green space, more carbon dioxide and more human casued climate
change.


 I am writing to complain most strongly about this crazy plan. Not only will
it draw even more traffic into the area, but it will destroy wildlife and nature
in the process. £89 million will become £100m plus as usual in these schemes
(cost has doubled already). This money could and should be invested in a rapid
transit system instead.

As an ex- traffic engineer, traffic flows are always conveniently
under-estimated.


 Instead of new roads, traffic, both passenger and freight, should be taken
off them by re-opening old railway routes and increasig services on existing
routes. I cannot understand why there seems to be money for new environmentally
damaging roads but not for environmentally friendly railways.


 It is surely time to reverse the redundant policy of building more roads.
Carbon emissions need to be slashed urgently and there is no room for increasing
them by any means.


 concerned about irretrievable damage to the environment. East Sussex still is
(but that may become was) a beautiful county, which is now under threat because
of the pressure to build and develop without seemingly any safeguards to the
environment in place. It seems like a developers’s paradise. We cannot possibly
underrate the importance of green and pleasant surroundings and there
seems to be a juggernaut pressing ahead to destroy one of our most treasured
assets. Once it has gone, under concrete, it will all be a bit too late. What a
legacy for future generations! Let us stop, NOW!


 I would just like to add my name. Why not come up with a more environmentally
friendly plan – good for cyclists and walkers. The car is king here and other
methods of transport should be encouraged.

The South east is crowded enough and we need lovely open spaces.

Please keep Sussex green – not tarmac-ed.


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Hastings Alliance submits objection

The Hastings Alliance, an umbrella group of organizations opposed the the building of the Bexhill to Hastings link road, submitted its own official objection in August 2007.

Read the full text of The Hastings Alliance’s objection (pdf 164kb)

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Environment Agency Objection

Flood risk assessment “inadequate”

The environment agency has put in an official objection to the plans for the proposed Bexhill-Hastings link road,
describing the flood risk assessment as “inadequate” and the ecological impact as “unacceptable”.

The proposed road goes right through the Combe Valley flood plain. As we have learned over the summer of 2007, flood plains have a key role in absorbing unusually high levels of rainfall. It was the need to upgrade the road to deal with the potential for flooding that caused the huge cost increase from the original estimate of £42million to the current estimate of £89m.

Adams Farm

Environment Agency: “inadequate flood risk assessment”.

Apart from the lack of adequate flood risk assessment, the Environment Agency’s other criticisms include:

  • “Inadequate consideration of, and mitigation and compensation for, ecological impacts.

  • “The scheme will result in severance of both existing and newly created wetlands, and watercourses, from the Combe Haven SSSI and other wetland habitats. This will prevent migration and transfer of species and reduce the suitability of severed areas for wildlife.”
  • “On this large scale the scheme will alter the ecological function of the whole valley.”

Among other criticisms, the Environment Agency points out that in many places the report says that since we don’t know what the environmental impact will be, therefore we will assume it to be very small. (“In several areas the impacts are considered to be unknown and therefore not addressed. For example, the scheme identifies that there would be a risk that increased noise and vehicle emissions may have some influence upon habitats. Although noise impacts have been acknowledged, the lack of understanding regarding noise impacts means that they have not been taken into account or mitigated for. “)

Read the full Environment Agency Objection.

 

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Council unveils plan for proposed link road

On 25th May 2007, the Council officially unveiled the plans for the proposed link road, and the official 6-week objection started.

Read the Council’s official announcement here.

Read our latest press releases below to see why we think this road would be a disaster for the area.

Hastings Alliance – Press Release

The Hastings Alliance strongly opposes the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road (BHLR)
scheme for several reasons:

  • By introducing 30,000 vehicles a day where there is currently no traffic
    at all, it will needlessly sacrifice Combe Haven valley, a tranquil and
    beautiful asset on the edge of Hastings and Bexhill valued for its landscape
    and wildlife
  • The road will relieve congestion on Bexhill Road but only by simply
    shifting traffic to other areas of Hastings. It fails completely to address
    problems of rising traffic levels. Worse than this, it will lead to more
    traffic in the two towns than if it were not built at all. A massive 30,000
    vehicles a day accessing and leaving the A259 by London Road, Bexhill will
    hardly pass unnoticed by residents over a wide area.
  • The BHLR would not make Hastings or Bexhill any more accessible to the
    wider region, so would be unlikely to attract investment from elsewhere. It
    might attract local firms to relocate from town centres, meaning that their
    employees would have further to go to get to work, probably by car.
  • Government guidance on examination of alternative non-road strategies has
    been ignored by the County Council and its supporters. No proper study has
    ever been carried out to assess what these strategies could achieve. One
    study did conclude that the greater part of the housing development could be
    delivered without the BHLR. If built, the road would be a millstone round
    the neck of alternatives to the car for decades to come. It already
    threatens to undermine the case for new station at Glyne Gap and West
    Marina, and extra services recommended by government studies between Bexhill
    and Ore as well as the existing market.
  • BHLR will result in increases in CO2 (climate change gases) greater than
    originally estimated.
  • Between December 2004 and December 2007, the cost has almost doubled from
    £47 million to £89 million. It is very likely that by now the cost has
    exceeded £100 million. This represents a huge investment in unsustainable
    methods of travel at huge environmental cost, and sets the stage for
    continued land hungry car and road based planning practices.

Derrick Coffee
(Hastings Alliance for Nick Bingham, Chairman)

Hastings Alliance  Press Release – immediate

Link Road: County Council’s climate change policies left in tatters
with promise of massive increase in car trips and CO2 emissions.

The Planning Application for the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road (BHLR)
contains figures that show the CO2 climate change gas emissions anticipated
following construction of the BHLR to be far worse than those in the original
plans sent to government for funding. These emissions will more than wipe out
the CO2 saved by the council elsewhere in the whole county (1)

It is now estimated that close to 6,000 tonnes more CO2 will be produced
every year as a result of the extra 7,300 (mainly) car trips generated by the
Link Road – and that’s a conservative estimate: most new road schemes
generate far more traffic than claimed by their promoters before construction.
(2)

Speaking for the Hastings Alliance, Derrick Coffee said: “East Sussex
County Council in their 2006 ‘Carbon Management Action Plan’ aim to save
5788 tonnes of CO2 every year from their own activities, however the Link Road
would generate 5972 tonnes every year. Unsurprisingly, in terms of CO2
emissions, this makes it the second most damaging scheme out of 59 promoted by
local authorities in the entire UK. (3)

This increased total calls into question the consistency of East Sussex
County Council’s policies to reduce carbon emissions. While the Council could
be applauded for adopting a CO2 reduction target in respect of its schools,
libraries, business travel, etc, it is worse than futile for it to promote a
road scheme that more than cancels out CO2 savings from these areas.

He continued: “We are a coastal county at risk from rising sea levels, and
in any case should be playing our part in reducing emissions of climate change
gases. The memories of Lewes’ floods in 2000 have been rekindled by news of this
week’s floods in the north of England. Investment in land hungry and polluting
car based development has to be halted. The Hastings Alliance urges the public
to press their MPs to lobby new Secretary of State for Communities and Lo cal
Government Hazel Blears, MP, to secure a public inquiry so that the flawed
process and its unacceptable road proposal can be re-examined alongside the kind
of low carbon transport strategy that is essential for the well-being of
future generations.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

1. ESCC Carbon Action Management Plan, 2006 2. Beyond Transport
Infrastructure, CPRE/Countryside Agency, 2006 3. Writt en Parliamentary answer
from Gillian Merron, MP, 17th May, 2007

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