Legal challenge casts doubts over A38 improvement scheme in Derby
Fresh doubts have been cast over whether the A38 in Derby will undergo a major transformation after a consent order was “quashed” by the High Court.
The £250 million Highways England scheme, which would see the Little Eaton, Markeaton and Kingsway traffic islands overhauled with flyovers and underpasses, was granted approval by the Government’s Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps earlier this year.
But campaigners with environmental concerns against the major project – which has seen people forced to move homes – lodged a claim for permission to seek a judicial review of the decision to grant the development consent order.
The campaigners believe the scheme is a “waste of taxpayers’ money”, will increase air pollution and result in loss of public space.
Now, it has been officially confirmed that the consent order for the project has been quashed – meaning more doubts now cloud over the major project which has been designed to make significant improvements to Derby’s road network and boost the economy.
A Department for Transport spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the plans will now have to be “redetermined”.
But it is unclear at this stage how long this redetermination could take and what it will actually mean for the project’s future.
The Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We’ve consented to the development consent order for the A38 Derby Junctions being quashed.
“The application will now be redetermined, and so it would be inappropriate for us to comment further on this live planning application.”
Highways England bosses insist building the A38 scheme is the best long term answer to tackling congestion in Derby at peak times.
Highways England project manager, Chris Archbold, said: “It will be a matter for the Secretary of State for Transport, as to whether the Development Consent Order is remade. Highways England will of course respond to any further queries or requests for information that may be made by the Secretary of State in due course.
“In the meantime, we remain confident this scheme is the best solution for tackling congestion along the A38 corridor, improving journeys, bringing-much needed relief to local communities and boosting the economy in the region.”
The Stop the A38 Expansion group say the campaign isn’t over yet.
In a recent announcement on its Facebook page the campaign group said: “A lot of people, including Derby City Councillors, told us there was nothing that could be done to stop the road expansion or the associated destruction and pollution … it was inevitable… money had changed hands… how else could traffic flow faster… and so on.
“But we are in a climate emergency. Billions of human lives are at risk if we don’t stop further global temperature increases by pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
In an emergency plans can and must change. Budgets can be reallocated. Change has to happen if we want to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown.
“The campaign to stop the A38 expansion is not quite over yet.
“Transport Secretary Grant Shapps may try to issue another development consent order for the A38 expansion. Though it will be interesting to see how he will dismiss the climate impacts of the scheme and all the other Government road schemes in the pipeline as part of RIS2 (Road Investment Strategy 2).”