Environmental case could stall ‘largest ever’ road programme

Last spring Transport Action Network (TAN) started  legal proceedings against the government on the grounds that it should have properly assessed environmental impacts before launching the £27 billion Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) in March 2020. The Court agreed to hear the TAN claim last July.

 According to the Guardian, those grounds  have been amended with evidence that the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps overrode advice to delay RIS2 until a major policy review had been conducted about its environmental and climate impacts.

DoT officials felt it would be ‘appropriate’ to review the 2014 National Policy Statement for National Networks (NPS) which now looks out of date in light of new environmental policies and climate change targets. The NPS contains such statements as ‘the impact of road development on aggregate levels of emissions is likely to be very small’ (para 3.8).

Shapps, however, rejected the call to rethink NPS policies because a review would have made no difference to his decision to go ahead with the ‘largest ever’ road building programme.

Read the full story in the Guardian ( 11 February 2021)

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