A CONSERVATION charity says a controversial bypass route will have a "detrimental impact" on ancient woodland.

The Woodland Trust said it opposes all six route options for the Arundel Bypass due to the "unacceptable level of impact on the natural environment".

Last week, Highway England announced the preferred route for the bypass would run south of the South Downs National Park - saving it from the road.

However, the trust said all options proposed by Highway England will have a "detrimental impact" on trees.

A spokeswoman said: "Ancient woodland may no longer be under threat of direct loss from the proposed bypass, but all the options will have a detrimental impact on ancient and veteran trees, local communities and the wider landscape.

"In a nature and climate emergency we must invest in sustainable solutions to transport problems, not short-term answers that will make the situation even worse.

"The Woodland Trust opposes all six route options for the Arundel Bypass due to the unacceptable level of impact on the natural environment, in particular on ancient woods and ancient and veteran trees.

"This remains the case, despite the fact the grey route, announced as Highways England’s preferred option, avoids the direct loss of ancient woodland."

The Argus: The map shows the preferred route of the A27 Arundel bypassThe map shows the preferred route of the A27 Arundel bypass

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.

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