LETTER: Road widening not the answer

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A27 ‘improvement’ is an issue that is so important, not just to the people of Chichester, not just to me, but to the planet too.

The current proposals to ‘upgrade’ the A27 are an example of the government’s short-sighted and unsustainable approach to transport planning. Each unpopular, and environmentally destructive, option represents a deadly distraction from the work that needs to be done to reduce traffic and tackle a toxic air pollution crisis that is claiming 4,000 lives in the South East every year.

Never-ending and destructive road widening is simply not the answer to our transport woes, there are several viable alternatives. And, it’s local groups like Campaign for Better Transport and the Chichester and Bognor Regis Greens that are at the forefront of an alternative, sustainable, vision for infrastructure.

Upgrading rail facilities, launching a comprehensive new bus system, investing in cycling infrastructure are just some of the ways to deliver sustainable small-scale solutions to Chichester’s congestion problems. These joined-up solutions could provide relief for local communities and ensure travellers who want to travel from Honiton to Folkestone are not caught up in congestion points – which was the original purpose of the A27 proposals. A move towards sustainable mobility will also help address the urgent environmental need to reduce the traffic.

The hundreds of millions of pounds committed to this project would be far better spent investing in sustainable public transport options, directed by local communities, to reduce traffic, rather than needlessly ‘upgrading’ the A27 to accommodate more.

Keith Taylor

Green Party MEP for the South East, European Parliament