In 2019, Highways England proposed six new route options for a road linking the existing dual carriageway on each side of Arundel in Sussex. All six options threatened irreplaceable ancient woodland or veteran trees.

Proposals for the new bypass road were first put forward in 2017. Thousands of you joined our campaign to save ancient woodland in Arundel and the project was put on hold, until it reared its head again in 2019.

Now a route has been chosen. The grey route will affect a small number of veteran trees, but swathes of ancient woodland are now safe from the project.

More to do for irreplaceable habitats

Choosing the grey route means no irreplaceable ancient woodland – our rarest and most precious habitat - will be lost, which is a significant step forward. However, there is still work to do to ensure that no veteran trees are lost to the scheme either. Nature is a necessity not a luxury. Infrastructure projects aimed at boosting the economy must always work alongside nature and ancient woodland, not against it.

While this option is a win for ancient woodland, it does not alter the fact that road building schemes are not a sustainable transport solution. We are pleased that Highways England at last appears to have listened to our concerns and those of thousands of our supporters when it comes to this precious natural resource. But the route chosen will still result in the loss of and damage to veteran trees, causing a net loss to the environment.

Next steps

Highways England will be consulting on the proposals again in the future. We will continue to impress how important it is to protect our irreplaceable veteran trees at every opportunity. We will continue to update you on the progress of this development as we know more.

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