NEWS: Damning speech to MPs on Highways England misuse of evidence, July 4th, 2019


Emma Tristram has been fighting Highways England proposals for the Arundel Bypass for some time now.  She led the campaign and took Highways England to court with a Judicial Review.  This was successful as Highways England has had to go back to undertake further work before starting the consultation process again. 

Emma was asked to give a speech to MP’s on this under the banner of Sense about Science ‘challenges the misrepresentation of evidence in public life’.  They had commissioned a poll about the main issues that confront MPs and invited community organisations to send someone to speak for 90 seconds about top evidence issues.   Here is Emma’s 90 second speech:

Evidence is so important, especially in big infrastructure projects such as road building.

Highways England misused evidence to push through a terribly damaging new route for the Arundel Bypass in West Sussex.   It would severely impact a National Park, Ancient Woodland, two villages, historic parkland, and the Arun watermeadows.  

They made this route look far less damaging than it really is.   Their consultation was full of errors, with an untrue press release, woodland left off maps, garbled place names, inadequate wildlife surveys, and outright false statements.

They convinced Local Authorities to support this option, with figures for traffic reduction and economic benefit which made it look like the best one.   Once they had chosen it as their new Preferred Route, they revised the figures, and its supposed advantages disappeared.     

I used evidence to challenge their choice of this option through Judicial Review.   The judge who gave permission for my Judicial Review said it was arguable that something went ‘clearly and radically wrong’.   Faced with my evidence, Highways England chose to rerun the consultation later this year.

I hope MPs will engage themselves more with the standards of evidence used in decision-making by Highways England.   I also hope the Government heeds the latest evidence on Climate Change, imposes a moratorium on new road building, and cancels this scheme.

This is a brief but highly damning account of how Highways England misrepresented and had incomplete information.  If ever there was evidence for us to make sure we submit all the information we can to Highways England about the environment, wildlife, heritage data etc. then this is it.  Let’s hope MPs were listening!

We need to ensure that none of this is missed out again, so that judgments made in Highways England offices are based on a full picture of our landscape. If you have any questions about submitting information to Highways England please contact us here.

To find out more about the Arundel Bypass proposals and the Judicial Review, click here.

We need your help

No Expressway Group believes there is no need for an Oxford-Cambridge Expressway, nor the over-inflated housing targets associated with it, and we will actively campaign against it and support other organisations with the same objectives. 

Our environment is a national asset which is critical for everyone’s health and well-being. We must not let it be destroyed.

Your donations help us to spread information about the Expressway, run and build support for the campaign:

  • £10 could pay for one roadside Correx poster

  • £15 could pay for one roadside poster on a wooden stake

  • £20 could pay for one A1 printed colour poster for our pagoda display

  • £35 could pay for 250 A5 printed leaflets for the campaign

  • £70 could pay for one pole and two panels for our travelling pagoda display

  • £150 could pay for one feather flag for our travelling pagoda

  • £180 could pay to run this website for one year

  • £300 could pay for a 3 minutes of an Expressway Story

  • £500 could pay for a 5 minutes of an Expressway Story

  • A greater or other amount could contribute to the cost of professional support for our campaign in general and in preparation for Planning Inspectorate hearings

Please note:

The No Expressway Group has a group bank account to which the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer are signatories. The group will publish accounts on each year which will be audited by an accountant from outside the NEG group.

If any funds are left at the end of the campaign, these will be donated equally between RSPB and BBOWT.