BUILDING more roads to solve the problematic A27 will increase congestion, not reduce it, a wildlife trust head believes.
Dr Tony Whitbread, chief executive of Sussex Wildlife Trust, has expressed his disappointment at the newly-launched A27 Action campaign.
Campaigners are call- ing for a series of improvements to be made along the entire stretch of the A27 but Dr Whitbread remains unconvinced about the proposals.
“The problem is too many cars, not too few roads,” Mr Whitbread said.
“It’s a 19th century solution to a 21st century problem. We have to work out how we can access what we need without travel.”
A27 Action aims to lobby the Government to invest millions in dualling the whole of the road in Sussex, along with improvements at congestion hotspots, including Arundel, Wor- thing and Lancing.
The group includes numerous councillors, MPs and business figures, which Dr Whitbreak said had a ‘good track record’ for protecting the environment and developing the economy.
But he said he felt the campaign was short-sighted.
He said: “It’s disappointing as a lot of people who are involved have got a good track record in protecting the environment and developing the economy.
“It’s a naive belief that new roads help reduce congestion.
“It will cause environmental damage through the national park but actually it doesn’t achieve its own objective.”
Dr Whitbread believes the focus should be on how to reduce the amount of people making short journeys, while investing in public transport and cycling.
He said: “I think what is going wrong is people are looking for simple solutions.
“Most journeys are less than five minutes so we need to start at that end of the spectrum.
“Congestion will get worse as more people try to drive.”
In his role as chief executive of the trust, Dr Whitbread is concerned about the potential impact of the environment, should new roads be built through the South Downs National Park.
“Key to the potential damage is the loss of lots of ancient woodland.
“We need to be moving away from things which produce greenhouse gases.
“Travel is a major source of greenhouse gases and is likely to grow, especially as we start to build roads.”
The A27 Action campaign has designed a survey for businesses, which will allow them to have their say on the issues the A27 causes them on a day-to-day basis.
For more information, visit the campaign’s website at www.a27action.co.uk
The group’s aim is ‘to present the Government with a robust case demonstrating the need for improving the A27 across West Sussex’ and get it assigned as top priority for redevelopment.