Tunbridge Wells FRIENDS of the earth Tunbridge Wells TRAFFIC ACTION GROUP
for the planet for people
STOP the ROAD
Cyclists Touring Club
Kent Wildlife Trust
Wealden Line Campaign
London SW1E 5DU
STOP THE SIX-LANE A21 TONBRIDGE – PEMBURY ROAD “IMPROVEMENT”
(the Off-Line Dualling of the A21 at Castle Hill)
Please do not reinstate this disastrous road scheme in the High Weald AONB, a nationally
important landscape equal in value to those of the National Parks. It is an historic landscape
formed out of the interaction of agriculture and woodland management.
The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution said that excessive car use was the most
important factor leading to human induced climate change, causing natural disasters which may ultimately trigger another Ice Age.
In danger of destruction along the line of the A21 are:
1. A Celtic Iron Age Hillfort of the 5th-2nd Centuries BC, reused by the Romano-British in the 5th-6th Centuries AD.
2. A Late Mediaeval Deer Park of 14th Century AD set up as a result of Black Death Depopulation.
3. An historic farm pond containing Great Crested Newts, Smooth Newts, Palmate Newts, Frogs and Toads, together with 15 Species of Dragonflies.
4. Ancient Woodland dating back to before 1600 AD, which provided the timber for the ships that defeated the Spanish Armada . Today it contains nationally depleted species like the Song Thrush, Nightingale, Tree Sparrow, Purple Emperor Butterfly & Stag Beetles. A guilly (woodland stream valley) has its own micro-climate and rare ancient woodland plants, and is a remnant of the ancient forest of Andredsweald of Romano-British & Anglo-Saxon Times.
5. Coppiced Woodland providing timber for furniture and fencing instead of imported tropical timber.
6. Hedgerows hacked out of ancient woodland containing ancient woodland remnants and plants.
7. Wild Flower Meadows which need to be grazed and managed; if abandoned they turn into weed scrub.
8. Agricultural Land: Grazing for free range cattle, sheep and pigs; many farmers in the High Weald are going Organic and rejecting GM Crops.
9. Tourism due to heavier traffic volumes and countryside destruction driving visitors away. The High Weald is well known to tourists from France, Germany, Japan and the US/Canada.
A Circular Letter has previously been sent to John Prescott urging him to consider National Park status for the High Weald in the same way as the New Forest and the South Downs.
We consider large scale road building in AONB’s / National Parks to be completely UNACCEPTABLE. Such action would be out of line with the aims of the Countryside Access & Amenity Bill. We urge you therefore to cancel this A21 scheme once and for all, and instead spend the money saved on priorities such as the NHS, Education and Law & Order, as well as improvements to the ENVIRONMENT.
The overwhelming majority of people of across the political spectrum favour improvements in public transport. At a much smaller cost the missing rail links between Tunbridge Wells & Lewes could be restored bringing access to Brighton and Newhaven for freight. This is being
considered by the Access to Hastings Study. Journeys to Tunbridge Wells from Sussex would much easier if rail line access was restored. There is no evidence that dualling roads creates jobs for anyone other than road builders and the health service. The ‘benefit’ of building all the ‘Access to Hastings’ Study trunk roads from Hastings to the M25 is a saving of just 5 minutes in journey times. We therefore again urge you to abandon this INAPPROPRIATE DEVELOPMENT in an AONB / National Park.