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Eco-groups unite to fight road schemes

ECO-GROUPS are planning a united campaign against a new wave of 'environmentally damaging' road schemes, NCE can reveal.

Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Transport 2000 and the World Wildlife Fund are to target three schemes affecting areas of outstanding natural beauty and sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs).

The projects were approved by the Government in last month's local transport plan settlement.

The groups are outraged at approval given for the Weymouth relief road and Lancaster western bypass.

They also fear the Hastings bypass will go ahead after the Hastings multi-modal study, looking at public transport alternatives to road schemes, concluded that the Government must decide. It will run through three SSSIs. The groups will put fighting road schemes back to the top of their environmental agenda and prioritise resources to stop road building.

They hope to stop the Hastings bypass, which goes through three SSSIs, being approved this year. Transport minister Lord MacDonald is said to be very keen to press ahead with it and there is speculation that approval will be made before the General Election, expected in May.

Research into exactly what environmental damage would be done by building the road schemes is being carried out over the next two weeks. 'We will then publish it and go on to the attack, ' said Transport 2000's Steve Hounsham.

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