Link Road cash “should be spent on flood defences”

Installation of the new bridge at Woodsgate Park, Bexhill- part of the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road
Installation of the new bridge at Woodsgate Park, Bexhill- part of the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road

Anti link road activists are supporting a comment made by an environmental analyst in the wake of the recent flooding.

The BBC’s expert Roger Harrabin has previously reported on the controversial £100million plus stretch of road which East Sussex County Council believes will open up new areas of both Hastings and Bexhill for investment.

And earlier this week, when discussing the lack of preventative measures funded by central government in flood-threatened areas, Mr Harrabin drew parallels with the mammoth outlay on the link road project in 1066 Country.

He wrote: “Every £1 spent on flood defences gives £8 of benefit. Yet other schemes - like a relief road in Hastings - have no proven benefit.”

His comments were quickly highlighted by local anti-link road lobbyists. Gabriel Carlyle, a spokesperson for the Combe Haven Defenders, said: “Roger Harrabin is right to compare the proven benefits of flood defences with the low value provided by the Bexhill Hastings Link Road (BHLR), but there is another link between flooding and roads.

“As a major source of greenhouse gases emissions, road transport is a significant driver of global warming which – according to the Met Office’s chief scientist - “all the evidence suggests” is linked to the current extreme weather hitting the UK.

“We need a sustainable transport system, not this £113million white-elephant road across Combe Haven.”

The Observer reported just last week how flooding had hit various sections of the road, with the worst conditions found in the valley between the two towns.

However, the torrential rain did not impact on the building schedule and East Sussex County Council remains adamant that not only will the road prove value for money, but that it is vital for the future of both towns.

The authority has previously hit back at claims the scheme is a costly mistake which will have a devastating effect on local wildlife and the environment. A host of studies were carried out looking at the likely environment impact of the road before the project was given the go-ahead. And last month the council announced plans for a dedicated bus lane on the existing road between Bexhill and Hastings in a bid to encourage more people to use public transport.