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Greens fear government u-turn over Hastings bypass

NEWS

ENVIRONMENTALISTS FEAR that transport secretary Stephen Byers is ready to announce the go ahead for the controversial £150M Hastings bypass.

They expect Byers to approve the 21km road before Parliament goes into recess next week.

The decision, expected to be announced on 19 July, is now said to be on a 'knife edge'.

The newly installed team of Byers and transport minister John Spellar has re-assessed the scheme after their predecessors John Prescott and Lord McDonald failed to support it.

The scheme emerged earlier this year as one option from the government backed road study for Hastings by a team of consultants led by Steer Davies Gleave. Out of two packages outlined in the study, the South East of England Regional Assembly then recommended that the government chose the option of building the bypasses.

'These decisions are on a knife edge, ' said Council for the Protection of Rural England head of policy (transport and natural resources) Lilli Matson.

'We get the feeling that the government is about to announce one major road scheme and cancel another to try and show some balance and retain some green credentials.'

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