Nick Herbert: Campaign for an upgrade to the A27

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert
Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert

Since I was first elected, I’ve campaigned for an upgrade to the A27 and specifically an Arundel bypass. As local people know only too well, the so-called ‘coastal highway’ is too often a coastal car park.

The bypass was agreed by John Major’s government but cancelled by the Labour government after the 1997 election. But now there are encouraging signs.

Last year the Government allocated £69 million for improvements at Chichester and, crucially, a feasibility study for improvements at Worthing and Arundel. The A27 was listed among the six worst pinch points in the country.

I’ve argued that we need concerted local action to take advantage of this study, so I was delighted to have worked with the county council and others to help launch the new A27 Action Campaign last week.

The campaign brings together local businesses, councils and MPs with one united voice to call for the upgrades we need - which means a fully dualled A27 and an offline Arundel bypass.

To take advantage of the launch, I invited the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin MP, to West Sussex last Friday. He visited Roll-Royce and the Festival of Speed at Goodwood, where he received a briefing from A27 Action, before travelling to Arundel to see the problems at Crossbush junction. The Minister stressed the importance of achieving as much of a consensus as possible around local proposals. That’s why I urge everyone to register their support at www.a27action.co.uk, to ‘like’ the campaign on Facebook and to follow us on Twitter @A27Action.

It was unwise of a few local environmental groups to oppose the campaign before they’d even heard the case. They clearly have not stopped to consider the environmental case FOR an Arundel bypass.

Rat-running through the National Park is damaging and is causing serious air pollution in Storrington. I commend the South Downs National Park Authority for a more considered approach, saying that it will weigh up these issues carefully, and I hope they see the advantage in routing through traffic past the Downs.

The Government is providing £24 billion over the next five years for roads schemes - the biggest investment since the 1970s. I believe that there is overwhelming local support for an Arundel bypass and A27 dualling, and the environmental and economic case is strong. Now we must demonstrate it.

If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or email me at nick@nickherbert.com.