One of the UK’s most loved and horticulturally important gardens is under threat from potential Highways England plans to widen the A3 in what could be the ultimate garden grab. One of Highways England’s proposed plans for the A3 threatens to take 10,000 sq. metres of land from RHS Garden Wisley destroying 500 trees and their wildlife. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is calling on Highways England to reject a plan to widen the western side of the A3, which would take 10,000 sq. metres of land from RHS Garden Wisley. This plan would destroy hundreds of beautiful trees – some of which are of significant scientific importance – and threatens the future of the garden for generations to come.
Crucially, the plans would eliminate the ancient 100ft natural barrier of trees which give a home to wildlife and create a natural scenic barrier for noise and pollution between the garden and the busy A3. Trees that would be lost include five cultivars that are extremely rare, as well as magnificent giant redwood trees. Some of these irreplaceable trees have taken more than a century to grow and should have the chance to grow for centuries more to come.
There are currently two options available to Highways England to widen the A3: one on the east side of the A3 and one on the west. The RHS has carried out expert highway studies and is calling on the Government Agency to choose the east option which does not grab woodland from the Garden, would not fell any of these important trees and would better improve road access to Wisley, which welcomes 1.2 million visitors a year.
There is also concern that some proposals for the A3 would involve additional travel for visitors to get to Wisley, some adding over six kilometres to the journey, which is unacceptable. The garden needs to be as accessible as possible for everyone, especially with major RHS investment 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 surely also be a key consideration for Highways England as well. Please sign this petition if you, like us, are not prepared to let RHS Wisley Garden be damaged to the irreversible point that is proposed by current Highways England plans.
We believe that this is not necessary and that there is a better alternative on the table that needs to be considered and actioned.
View our campaign video here