Victory as Government backs down over Blackdown Hills

Green Winged Orchid

One of the most beautiful and tranquil areas of southern England has been saved from road building.

After strong campaigning from environmental groups including Friends of the Earth, and individual actions from many members of the public, the Government has rejected the widening of the A303 through the Blackdown Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on the Devon - Somerset border.

The proposed route would have brought the dual carriageway close to Long Lye and Long Lye Meadow, two of the nation's finest wildlife sites.

Saved: Long Lye Meadow

Darling's decision

Alistair Darling claimed that the decision not to build through the Blackdown Hills reaffirmed the Government's commitment to ensure "that environmental consequences are fully considered".

We are delighted with Mr Darling's decision. A dark shadow has been lifted from one of England's finest natural areas. The alternative A358 route is far from perfect, but it's the lesser of two evils.

Mike Birkin,
South West Regional Campaigns Coordinator,
Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth, whilst congratulating Darling on this decision, urges him to back it up with a rejection of the proposed Bexhill - Hastings Link Road.