RPS was appointed to undertake the landscape and visual impact and ecological assessments for the Environmental Statement and to develop the landscape and ecological design for the A3 Hindhead improvement scheme in Surrey.
The scheme involved the construction of a tunnel under the Devil’s Punch Bowl SSSI and provision of an associated 6.7 km by-pass to relieve chronic congestion within the centre of Hindhead. By completing the missing road link between London and Portsmouth the scheme helped reduce congestion, enhance safety issues and improve the environment.
Highways Agency (consultant to Mott Macdonald / Balfour Beatty)
This environmentally sensitive scheme included designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Areas (SPA), Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Areas of Special Landscape Quality (ASLQ) sites. Whilst these designations placed significant constraints on the project, they also created extraordinary opportunities for environmental and landscape gain.
Even without traffic the existing A3 was an intrusive element in the dramatic landscape of the Devil’s Punch Bowl.
In addition, much of the common land was in the ownership and management of the National Trust. The project therefore required an Appropriate Assessment and the provision of exchange land to compensate for common land taken by the scheme.
Our experts provided the landscape, townscape, visual impact and ecological evidence at Public Inquiry. The environmental benefits delivered by the scheme enabled many of the local and statutory consultees to support the scheme’s approval.
We supported the scheme through the construction phases, from preparation of the tender package, the detailed environmental design and co-ordination, monitoring of the works on site and throughout the five-year aftercare period.
The diversion of the A3 traffic into a tunnel under Hindhead Common restored the sense of tranquillity and remoteness associated with the nationally valued, high quality, historic heathland landscape within the Devil’s Punch Bowl.
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