Government wins in Court of Appeal on £450m worth of schemes

Dominic Browne

Court of Appeal judges have given the go-ahead on development consent orders (DCOs) for three National Highways schemes potentially worth a total of £450m. 

The judges upheld the original decisions by the transport secretary to grant the DCOs for the road schemes around Norwich, finding that they were appropriately assessed for carbon emissions and will stand.

Their judgment concluded the decision to adopt the methodology used by National Highways to assess the cumulative carbon effects of the schemes was not 'irrational', as had been suggested by the claimant.

'This was because it included consideration of the total cumulative emissions on the affected road network, which were in line with legal requirements of relevant carbon budgets, at a point where all three schemes would be in place - and this detail formed a fundamental element of the decision to grant development consent,' National Highways said in a statement.

The three schemes are:

Dual carriageway and junctions on the A47 between Blofield - North Burlingham

  • Current advertised cost estimate £90m-£100m

Dual carriageway and junctions on the A47 between North Tuddenham - Easton

  • Current advertised cost estimate £100m-£250m

A47 Thickthorn Junction near Norwich

  • Current advertised cost estimate £50m - £100m

Work on all three schemes had been expected to start shortly after their DCO decisions in 2022, but this was put on hold pending the outcome of legal challenges.?

These projects would have all been completed by the end of next year but have been delayed by over 20 months.

National Highways aid it will now work with its contractors to establish new timescales, including the start of major construction, for all three projects. This will be announced over the coming weeks. 

Chris Griffin, programme leader for National Highways in the East Region, said: 'I am very pleased the Court of Appeal has decided that the DCOs for these schemes were valid. This outcome potentially puts us one step closer from progressing these important road improvement projects unhindered by further delay.

'The A47 is a vital artery connecting the east of the country with the heart of UK. Being in a position to move forward with our job of delivering a safer and more reliable road that will contribute towards long-term economic growth for the region and help to connect people and communities is very exciting.'

Picture: representation of the A47 passing over the River Tud

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