Arundel ancient woods mitigation measures "nonsense", says Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust has dismissed West Sussex County Council's claim that environmental mitigation measures can compensate for its recommended road building project through ancient woodland.

Image: Andrew Green
Image: Andrew Green

West Sussex County Council last week indicated its preferred option for the proposed A27 Arundel bypass to Highways England – "with the proviso that a package of environmental mitigation measures is introduced".

Councillor Bob Lanzer, the council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: "Overall, the environmental impacts of Option 5A are likely to be significantly outweighed by the substantial economic benefits of this option over the longer term, provided that a high-quality package of environmental mitigation measures is identified and delivered."

But Woodland Trust campaigner Oliver Newham said: "All three proposed routes will destroy ancient woodland so we do not back one route over another and ask that Highways England look again.

"But most importantly at this stage we need to be clear that the much-touted package of environmental mitigation measures is a total nonsense."

He explained: "The ancient woodland soils that have existed undisturbed for centuries will be lost, and the rare and endangered species that depend on ancient woodland cannot move or adapt. Lose the wood, lose the species - no amount of mitigation measures will change that fact."

The council’s Environmental and Community Services Select Committee earlier took evidence from community representatives with different viewpoints on the three proposed schemes.

Once Highways England has scrutinised all consultation responses, the Secretary of Stateis expected to announce a preferred route this winter, with further consultation expected next year.

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