New options for the Arundel Bypass have been leaked online.
Recently, a diagram showing five new options, including a route outside of the South Downs National Park, was circulated online.
A Highways England spokesman confirmed the diagram was legitimate.
Alan Feist, Highways England programme lead, said: “It is clear that improving the A27 at Arundel is a priority for local people, and we have been working hard to develop and assess our proposals, which has included engaging with elected representatives and other stakeholders.
“We remain on course for further consultation later this year, giving people a fresh look at all viable options for this much needed upgrade.”
During a 2017 public consultation, 48 per cent of people who took part voted for option 5a, which would take the bypass through ancient woodland at Binsted Woods, Binsted Park and the South Downs National Park.
But in October last year, Highways England announced another consultation would be held due to ‘important new evidence’.
This came after legal challenges to their decision to pick option 5a.
One of the parties who took Highways England to court over the plans was Dr Emma Tristram, author of Binsted and Beyond.
The Binsted resident said that the diagram was shown to elected representatives of interested parties a few months ago at a meeting with Highways England.
According to her, the routes outlined in the diagram are being studied by Highways England, but may not end up in the final selection put forward in the public consultation.
She said: “From my own point of view, I see them working very hard on something they shouldn’t be doing, because of global warming.”
She said they were ‘ploughing masses of public money’ into pursuing the construction of ‘enormously costly, damaging routes through the countryside’.
She added that they should be listening to Greta Thunberg, a teenage climate change activist from Sweden who spearheaded the ‘school strike for climate change’ movement which has swept the globe.
“She says: every emission counts,” Emma said.
Nick Field, from OneArundel – a pro-bypass group – shared the diagram on social media.
Speaking on behalf of the group, he said: “OneArundel welcomes the release by Highways England of the routes currently under consideration for this much needed and long overdue bypass and like everyone else, we look forward to receiving further details when the consultation takes place later this summer.”
When Highways England announced it was going back to the drawing board in October, the government body was asked if all options were back on the table because of the judicial review.
A Highways England spokesman said: “While it may be interpreted as this, we would say that isn’t the case.
“New evidence has come to light, and we feel it is the right thing to do to go back out to consultation on all three options.”