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PRESS RELEASE: Heathrow ruling casts doubt over Highways England’s Port of Liverpool Access Road

The Court of Appeal’s ruling [1] on plans for a 3rd runway at Heathrow Airport has cast serious doubt over the UK government’s road building programme. The Save Rimrose Valley campaign believes that this could include Highways England’s controversial A5036 Port of Liverpool Access road, another government-led project.


Image: PA

Expansion of Heathrow was deemed unlawful because it did not take climate commitments into account, the Court of Appeal said.


Less than 24 hours after the ruling, Transport Action Network [2] led calls for the Heathrow judgement to be applied to the government’s road-building projects. This is because road schemes have previously worked to guidelines which are no longer up to date. They do not reflect the government’s own targets to reduce emissions by almost 100% by 2050 [3].

Speaking on behalf of Transport Action Network, Becca Lush said:


"The whole system desperately needs reviewing. The assessments were done in a pre-climate crisis era. They don't take into account the UK's commitment to Net Zero emissions,"


She went on to confirm that the group is now considering legal action against the government.


Responding to recent developments, Stuart Bennett from Save Rimrose Valley said:


“The Heathrow ruling and subsequent response by Transport Action Network gives us a huge amount of encouragement for our own fight. We have repeatedly said that roadbuilding on this scale goes against everything we know about the climate emergency. Even more so when you consider that this road is for the benefit of the Port of Liverpool and would be filled with HGVs. Transport [4] and the shipping industry are huge contributors to climate-wrecking emissions.


“Furthermore, Highways England failed to make any acknowledgement of the scheme’s impact on the climate emergency in its 2017 public consultation. Friends of the Earth gave a damning assessment of its documentation at that time [5]. They asked how the port’s expansion and associated road building could be reconciled with the reduction in emissions required in order to adhere to the Climate Change Act, UK carbon budgets and the Paris Agreement?


“It said that the failure to even consider the climate change impacts the road schemes presented was ‘a major omission’. It would appear that this has proven to be true.


“We are working closely with Transport Action Network, as well as Friends of the Earth, Campaign to Protect Rural England and Campaign for Better Transport and will monitor this closely. The CEOs of each organisation know all about Rimrose Valley and Highways England’s disastrous road plans. Again, this gives us a lot of hope.”



Notes:


[1] Report on Court’s ruling from BBC News:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-51658693?fbclid=IwAR3-TTvLE77NTPM9CSNwbL178JCZ8lcD5xF3C9UWD4m2FagpJ_BD8IrihLU

[2] Links to Transport Action Network: https://www.facebook.com/TransportActionNetwork/

https://twitter.com/transportactio2

https://transportactionnetwork.org.uk/

[3] Source: BBC’s report on proposed legal action against government’s road building plans:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-51665682?fbclid=IwAR0Gzg7-S24mt1bxiDF67gsQtvdQUQUVGnKPrebSXzlVFdASikUj_LPtlhE

[4] Transport is the UK’s biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 21% of the UK’s total:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/environmentalaccounts/articles/roadtransportandairemissions/2019-09-16

[5] See Section 4 of FoE’s Response to Highways England’s A5036 Port of Liverpool Access Scheme public consultation:

https://www.saverimrosevalley.org/post/friends-of-the-earth-their-objections-to-the-highways-england-consultation

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