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Campaigners launch legal challenge to A57 Links Road project

Environmental campaigners have launched a legal challenge to the government decision to approve the A57 Link Roads project.

The Peak District and South Yorkshire branch of the countryside charity CPRE have filed for a judicial review into the decision by Transport Secretary Mark Harper.

Following legal advice, CPRE say Mr Harper failed in his statutory duty to consider the environmental impact, failed to properly consider reasonable alternatives, and therefore failed to demonstrate the “very special circumstances” needed to allow building on green belt.

CPRE campaigner Anne Robinson said: “This is a disgraceful decision, not only because the Secretary of State dismissed all the adverse impacts of the scheme on people and the environment but also because it will enable the long planned dualling of the A628 corridor through our first National Park.”

Approval was given to the A57 Link Roads project last November, after a six-month public examination by the Planning Inspectorate.

National Highways say the two new roads would ease congestion, reduce noise levels and pollution, improve journey reliability and reconnect local communities.

But CPRE PDSY, who took part in the public examination and presented evidence from a professional transport planner, believe the project would actually make local problems worse.

They argued it would increase carbon emissions, worsen congestion, lead to more road crashes, and increase traffic through the national park, including other local villages east of Mottram.

They presented an alternative “Low Carbon Travel” plan that would restrict heavy lorries and concentrate on sustainable transport solutions without building new roads.

CPRE have set up a crowdfunding page on the CrowdJustice website and are appealing for public support to fund the legal action.

In response to the challenge National Highways Project Manager Andy Dawson said: “We are aware that a challenge has been submitted against the decision to grant a Development Consent Order (DCO) for the A57 Link Roads scheme.

“The A57 is a key route between Manchester and Sheffield which currently suffers from heavy congestion. We believe our proposals will provide relief for thousands of commuters, hauliers and drivers who use this vitally important route every day, while also delivering an economic boost to both city regions.”

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