Speaking for the Hastings Alliance (a coalition of local and national organisations opposed to the BHLR), its chairman Nick Bingham said:
“The leaflet glosses over the environmental damage the road will bring about, fails to mention that BHLR will lead to more, not less, traffic in Hastings and Bexhill, and in doing so will dump an extra annual 5,426 tonnes of greenhouse gas CO2 into the atmosphere at a time when climate change is supposedly at the top of local and national governments" agendas. All this is admitted by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) in its own studies, then conveniently ignored in its leaflet.
“The complete absence of any information in the leaflet on alternatives to the car, and the many other ways to reduce traffic, confirms what the Alliance, and expert consultants have said repeatedly; that ESCC other BHLR supporters have failed to properly examine alternatives to car travel. It"s a very serious matter and shameful when Hastings has a high level (39%) of households with no access to a car. BHLR is a seriously flawed road scheme.”
The Hastings Alliance believe that the BHLR is far from inevitable and that it has to be stopped.
Nick Bingham concluded:
“The less than competent process followed by ESCC and others in developing the BHLR should be exposed. Unbelieveably, there has never been any evidence put forward by those promoting the road to show that it is the best solution for Hastings and Bexhill, simply a blind adherence to the mantra that "it’s a good thing". If there is evidence, it should be published because we all need to see it. The only alternatives ever placed in front of the public have been other routes for BHLR that would never have been approved because of legal protection. In this respect, the consultation was manipulative, stupid, or both. We are all being conned into accepting a very poor and damaging road which will carry local traffic of 30,000 vehicles a day through a beautiful valley that is one of Hastings and Bexhill"s greatest amenities, before dumping it back in the towns" built up areas."
Notes for Editor:
Hastings Alliance constituent groups and organisations; document reference:
1. Local: Friends of the Brede Valley, Hastings Friends of the Earth, Friends of the Earth South East, East Sussex Transport 2000, Hastings Urban Wildlife, Sussex Wildlife Trust, Railfuture Coastway Group, Council for the Protection of Rural England – Sussex, SUSTRANS, Wishing Tree Residents Association.
National: CPRE, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Railfuture, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, SUSTRANS, Transport 2000, The Wildlife Trusts, Woodland Trust, Worldwide Fund for Nature,.
2. ESCC Local Transport Plan, Major Scheme Bid, BHLR July 2004.