We are very grateful that Highways England’s preferred option to widen the A3 does not land grab 10,000 sq. metres of woodland from RHS Garden Wisley. But we are still extremely concerned that the proposed plans could threaten the future of this garden of such national importance and have a negative impact on the local area for years to come.
We ask everyone who visits or works at the garden, anyone who cares about safeguarding one of the UK’s best-loved and most horticulturally important gardens, and all who live and work in the local area to respond to the online consultation on Highways England M25 Junction 10 to A3 Wisley Interchange before 26 March.
Highways England's current proposals remove all direct connection from Wisley Lane to the A3 – without suitable replacements. The basis of their suggested alternative routing would result in an additional 1.5 to 5.25 miles to the journey for all visitors who currently use the A3. As a consequence of the preferred route, many people would be put off visiting and this, in turn, would harmfully impact the charitable income of the RHS, the national treasure that is Wisley, and the work that is done there to support gardening science in this country.
We have already provided Highways England (HE) with a scheme that retains the left-hand turn onto the A3 that achieves their objectives relating to safety and congestion and that wouldn’t impact RHS Garden Wisley. We also have a solution to replace the direct connection from the A3 into Wisley Lane. This amendment adds south-facing slips at Ockham roundabout which meets their objectives in respect of safety and congestion. Overall, our alternative proposals will reduce all current travel to/from Wisley Lane (by up to two miles from/to the south) rather than causing unnecessary travel distance. While the current HE proposals may help to reduce general traffic delays, our proposals would reduce overall travel distances and reduce vehicle emissions.
View graphics that illustrate the difference between the routes
We are also concerned, as we know others will be, about the additional air pollution the HE preferred option would cause, which is harmful to our health and the environment. The difference therefore between the HE scheme and our alternative is a net saving of 2.7 million miles per annum – this would result in a saving of 4.41 tonnes of nitrous oxide (N2O) pollution.
Please read our Q&A for more information on the points raised about helping to protect the future of Wisley and the local area.
Together we can ensure that the road improvement meets the needs of local stakeholders, without compromising safety or the local environment.
Three key points you may wish to make
Call for direct access between the A3 and Wisley Lane to be maintained, allowing shorter travel distances and the associated environmental benefits they bring
Express your concerns about the negative impact the HE proposal will have on the local area – communities such as Send, Wisley Village, Ripley, Pyrford, Ockham and Woking where traffic will increase, as well as the damage to appeal of the local area to the visitor economy
Tell HE what Wisley means to you, and remind them that any threat to the garden’s visitor numbers could mean the RHS's charitable activities in science, horticulture, education and the arts would be negatively impacted by a drop in visitor spend and membership numbers
The immense support we’ve received nationally to date to help protect our garden has been extraordinary. We continue to work to protect Wisley for future generations and ask HE to consider viable options, which provide simpler access to the garden, reduce travel distances/vehicle emissions and avoid diverting traffic through local communities and villages.
You can also print out and complete a paper version of the online survey which can then be returned to a Freepost address: FREEPOST M25 junction 10/A3 Wisley interchange by 26 March.
"Thank you for your support to protect this very special place for all to enjoy"
RHS Director-General, Sue Biggs
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