CPRE_A2H_July01

Added; 12th July 2001,  Changed; 13/05/2014, 16/01/2015

31/01 12.7.01 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Welcome For First Big Decision By New Transport Minister

‘We welcome the brave decision by the Government to reject the Hastings bypasses in the face of local authority lobbying – this should be the first sign of a renewed commitment to protect the countryside from damaging road building.’

This is the immediate reaction today (Thursday) of CPRE{1} to the Government’s announcement on the Access to Hastings Multimodal Study{2}.

CPRE’s Head of Transport, Lilli Matson, said:

‘The Hastings’ bypasses would have damaged some of the finest wildlife and landscape areas in southern England and led to huge controversy{3}.

‘The package of transport measures announced today will avoid this outcome and opens the door to finding modern answers to the economic problems facing Hastings without relying on old-fashioned road building solutions.’

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1. CPRE exists to promote the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of rural England by encouraging the sustainable use of land and other natural resources in town and country. We promote positive solutions for the long-term future of the countryside and to ensure change values its natural and built environment. Our Patron is Her Majesty The Queen. We have 57,000 supporters, a branch in every county, eight regional groups, over 200 local groups and a national office in Westminster. CPRE is a powerful combination of effective local action and strong national campaigning. Our President is Prunella Scales.

2. Secretary of State for Transport, Stephen Byers, announced that ‘the balance of arguments presented in favour of the bypasses is not sufficient to outweigh these very strong environmental requirements. I believe, therefore, we must look for alternative means to prevent the further decline of the area and to optimise its economic potential’ (letter to Councillor David Shakespeare, South East England Regional Assembly, 12 July 2001).

3. The proposed Hastings A259 Eastern and Western bypasses would have involved the construction of approximately 30km of new dual carriageway through open countryside. The bypasses would have had a severe impact on Pevensey Levels Ramsar and SSSI, Coombe Haven SSSI and local nature reserve, the High Weald AONB, Battle Abbey and ancient woodland in the Brede Valley. Related development included a new business park at north Bexhill and around 1,500 new houses on greenfield sites.

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