A CONSERVATION charity says new plans for the Arundel bypass is a "win" for ancient woodland - despite calls to scrap it.

The Woodland Trust said it was "delighted" that the South Downs National Park will not be threatened by the proposed A27 bypass out.

Five of the six options for the A27 near Arundel would have involved building new roads in the national park.

The Argus: The proposed routeThe proposed route

However, the authorities scrapped the idea, announcing that the preferred grey route will go south of the ancient woodland - saving it from the road.

Woodland Trust campaigner Nicole Hillier said the decision to proceed with the grey route was a "significant step forward".

She said: “Nature is a necessity, not a luxury. Choosing the grey route means no irreplaceable ancient woodland – our rarest and most precious habitat - will be lost, which is a significant step forward.

"Infrastructure projects aimed at boosting the economy must always work alongside nature and ancient woodland, not against it.

“Investment needs to help us reduce our impact on nature and climate, not threaten it further.

"We are therefore welcoming today’s announcement as real progress, but the route chosen will still result in the loss of and damage to a small number of veteran trees.

"There is still a net loss to the environment and we will continue to impress on Highways England the value of retaining these as a solution to climate change and havens for wildlife.

“While this option is a win for ancient woodland, it does not alter the fact road building schemes are not a sustainable transport solution but we are delighted that Highways England, at last, appears to have listened to our concerns and that of thousands of our supporters when it comes to this precious natural resource.”

The new route will feature approximately 8 kilometres of dual two-lane carriageway to the south of the existing A27.

Starting at Crossbush, the new route will reconnect with the existing A27 in the west near the A27 and A29 Fontwell east roundabout.

The "grey route" is the most expensive of the five proposed and is expected to cost over £250million.