Tuesday 14 April 2015
Nick Herbert slams Labour threat to Arundel bypass
Arundel & South Downs Conservative Parliamentary Candidate Nick Herbert has slammed Labour’s announcement yesterday (Monday 13 April) that they would “delay” the Arundel bypass.
In December the Government announced a £350 million investment in A27 improvements including the Arundel bypass, with consultation over routes beginning this year.
Labour’s Manifesto pledged to invest in strategic roads, but a briefing document revealed that they are planning to “delay” A27 projects to fund a one-year rail fare freeze. The Party later said that A27 upgrades would go ahead “with the exception of the Arundel bypass.”
Mr Herbert commented: “First Labour said they’d invest in strategic roads, then they admitted they would cut investment in the A27 on economic grounds, then within hours they said it was only the Arundel bypass they were shelving, claiming environmental issues.
“The policy is a shambles. Labour claims they’ll save £200 million from this to fund a one-year rail fair freeze, but the money isn’t there to raid yet because it’s allocated for when construction begins, which won’t be until the end of the the road period.
“Conservatives have already delivered a rail fair freeze for the last two years and have now committed to extend the freeze to run throughout the next Parliament without cutting essential roads investment.
“Labour’s excuse that the bypass goes through the National Park won’t wash because the routes are being consulted on and the existing A27 goes through the National Park anyway. This is a tiny section of replanted woodland right at the bottom of the Park. It isn’t chalk downland. Meanwhile real damage to the Park is being caused by pollution and rat running through Downland villages as a result of congestion at Arundel. Storrington suffers some of the worst air pollution in the South East.
“Nor does it make sense for Labour to claim that they’ll go ahead with upgrades on other sections of the A27 while leaving a bottleneck at Arundel. Frankly, no-one will trust Labour to deliver any of the A27 schemes. They’ve got form on this - they shelved the Arundel bypass once before in 2003. Once again Labour are cutting roads investment and showing that they couldn't care less about Sussex or the South of England. It’s now clear that users of the congested A27, the local economy and the environment will continue to suffer if Labour are elected.”
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin commented:
“Infrastructure investment is a vital part of our long term economic plan and once again Labour has shown that they will ignore Sussex. Only David Cameron and the Conservatives are committed to upgrading the A27 and relieving the congestion that causes misery on a daily basis.
“Labour cancelled lots of road schemes in 1998 which led to us tumbling down the international league tables for infrastructure. Today Ed Miliband has shown he would repeat the mistakes of the past, condemning Sussex to decades of congestion.”