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Mon January 25 2021

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Expressway legal challenge fails

22 Jan 19 Wildlife campaigners fighting against government plans for an Oxford to Cambridge expressway have lost a legal challenge.

The High Court has refused permission for a Wildlife Trust claim against the government regarding the road improvement project.

In November 2018 Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) issued a claim in the High Court, challenging the government’s failure to commission a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) or a Habitats Regulation assessment (HRA) as part of the process of selecting a ‘growth corridor’ (within which the expressway and associated housing are planned).

In response to the High Court decision, BBOWT head of planning Matthew Stanton said: “We do not regard this as the end of the legal process, and we will apply for the court to revisit this decision at an oral hearing. We are resolute in our determination to protect wildlife from the impact of the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.

“A strategic environmental assessment is required under European law for schemes that impact on the environment such as this. This means the true environmental impact has not been properly considered, and the public has been denied the opportunity to fully scrutinise the implications of the scheme.

“‘The government has committed to leave the environment in a better state than they found it, but it is unclear how the expressway and its potential impact on protected habitats is compatible with this ambition.”

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