You may have seen some of the publicity recently about plans by Highways England to improve the M25/A3 junction in Surrey. The plans will have a significant impact on the RHS Wisley Garden and the RHS are asking for support in resisting the proposals. As well as taking away woodland, including some magnificent trees on Battleston Hill, the plan will take a slice off the bottom of the current trials field. Whilst this will not affect trials themselves as the timing will such that trials field will have moved, it does have a significant effect on Wisley Garden and access to it.
Sue Biggs, Director General of the RHS, has issued the following statement:
As you may be aware Highways England has plans to improve M25 Junction 10, which is something we support in principle.
However, as part of the Junction 10 improvement there are also plans to widen the A3 and unfortunately one of the options being considered by Highways England (HE) would involve grabbing 10,000 metres sq. of woodland from RHS Garden Wisley, within Battleston Hill and the Jubilee Arboretum area of the garden.
There are currently two options available to HE to widen the A3: one on the east side of the A3 and one on the west. Our preferred option is the east side. If HE decide that widening the west side is their preferred option then 500 trees including some of our irreplaceable historic trees that are over 100 years old and have centuries more to live could be eliminated for a short-sighted road improvement scheme. This option would increase air pollution and noise pollution and destroy the habitats of a wide range of wildlife and the beauty of the garden.
We’re also concerned that some proposals for the A3 would involve additional travel for our visitors to get to Wisley, some adding over 6 kilometres to the journey, which is unacceptable. We need our garden to be as accessible as possible for everyone, especially with our major investment plans to make the garden better than ever before and to welcome more visitors. Therefore more direct access to and from the A3 to Wisley is vital and must also be a key consideration for HE as they consider their preferred option to safeguard to future of this very special place, which millions of people enjoy.
We have carried out our own expert highway studies and have suggested solutions, which are viable options and would mean not one of these important Wisley trees would need to be felled.
In the next few weeks HE will be announcing their preferred option to widen the A3, which means we have decided that the time is right to publicly talk about how devastating it would be to reduce access and destroy these beautiful trees and their wildlife habitats to widen the A3 and that it simply cannot happen.
We also have plans to galvanise support from our members, the industry, MPs, celebrities, garden visitors, Councils and many more people and organisations.
Have your say
If you feel equally strongly about reduced access, potential destruction of these 500 trees, and the impact that this will have on our flagship garden, you can:
Sign our petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/en-gb/takeaction/372/679/924/
Write to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, at the following address:
Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP
Secretary of State for Transport
Department for Transport
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
London, SW1P 4DR
Or Email Chris Grayling at: Chris.Grayling@dft.gsi.gov.uk
If you do email Chris Grayling, it would be useful if you could forward a copy on to HE at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join our social media campaign at #MyWisley
HE is due to announce their preferred route within the next few weeks. To see HE’s proposal please visit: http://roads.highways.gov.uk/projects/m25-junction-10-to-a3-wisley-interchange/
A short film with Wisley Curator Matt Pottage talking about the beautiful trees and threat to the Garden can be seen here:
I assure you that we are doing everything we can to protect our very special garden and will continue to gather as much support as we can from as many places as we can to make sure that Highways England makes the right decision.