FoE_A2H_July01

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HASTINGS: NEW JOBS WITHOUT NEW ROADS

07 July 2001

Research shows bypasses not needed for regeneration

Research published today by Friends of the Earth shows that the proposed Hastings bypasses[1] are not needed for the regeneration of the town.

The report ‘New jobs without new roads: sustainable regeneration for Hastings’ [2] concludes that a sustainable regeneration strategy for the town could create up to 2,570 jobs for local people for significantly less than the £130 million cost of the bypass. The projections are based on regeneration success stories from around Europe. This contrasts with the report of the Government’s consultants, which concluded that the bypasses would create jobs in nearby Bexhill, but would result in a loss of 300 jobs in Hastings [3].

The sustainable regeneration strategy could include:

    • investment in training local unemployed people
    • developing community businesses
    • promoting Hastings as a quality tourist location emphasising the high quality environment around the town
    • refurbishing empty homes
    • improving support for local businesses providing locally produced food; and
    • increasing recycling provision to provide more jobs

Brenda Pollack, Friends of the Earth’s Regional Campaigns Co-ordinator, said:

“This report shows a positive way forward for Hastings, making the best of its many assets and giving the town a green future. That has to be better than wasting tens of millions of pounds on a destructive bypass that won’t solve traffic problems”.

The final decision on the bypasses rests with new Transport Secretary Stephen Byers. A decision is expected before the start of the Parliamentary recess which will probably be in late July. If Mr Byers decides to approve the building of the bypasses, he faces the prospect of a legal challenge to the decision [4].

Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth’s Transport Campaigner, said:

“The last prop supporting the case for the Hastings bypasses has been kicked away. We knew they wouldn’t solve the town’s traffic problems. We knew they would be environmentally destructive. And now we know they aren’t needed to bring new jobs. Stephen Byers should decide now to reject the bypasses so that the sustainable regeneration of Hastings can begin as soon as possible”.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

[1] The Bexhill and Hastings Western Bypass and the Hastings Eastern Bypass would create a new 21 km road around Hastings and Bexhill, damaging three SSSIs _ Pevensey Levels, which is also a Ramsar site,Combe Haven and Marline Valley Woods – and the High Weald AONB. The aim of the new roads would be to regenerate Hastings, but a study by consultants for the Government concluded that there were major doubts whether this would be achieved. The new roads would cost around £130 million. The South East England Regional Assembly voted on February 14th to recommend building the bypasses. The final decision lies with the Secretary of State.

[2] ’New jobs without new roads: sustainable regeneration in Hastings’ was written by Emma Cranidge of CAG Consultants. CAG Consultants seek to be at the leading edge of ethical consultancy in our fields of environmental policy, stakeholder involvement and urban regeneration. We work mainly for government departments, national agencies, think tanks, regeneration partnerships and local authorities. We work mostly in the UK but also sometimes in Europe and beyond. CAG Consultants is a co-operative founded in 1983 that is owned and managed by its staff. The company comprises twelve consultants and one administration and finance manager.

A one-page summary or a full copy of the report is available on request.

[3] ’Access to Hastings Multi Modal Study’ Final Report paragraph 9.36

[4] Friends of the Earth and Transport 2000 wrote to John Prescott, the then Secretary of State, in April. The letter warned that a decision to approve the construction of the bypasses could be unlawful because:

    • The bypasses seriously conflict with Government policy of a strong presumption against road schemes through environmentally sensitive sites;
    • The Government hasn’t shown that the bypasses would achieve their stated aim of regenerating the Hastings economy. Nor have they demonstrated that there is no valid alternative solution;
  • The 1995/96 public inquiry is not a valid basis for proceeding, as this was based on different transport policy, a different objective for the bypasses and a different assessment methodology;

Contact details:

Friends of the Earth

26-28 Underwood St.

LONDON

N1 7JQ

Tel: 020 7490 1555

Fax: 020 7490 0881

Email: info@foe.co.uk

Website: www.foe.co.uk

Media team

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