A good start but a way to go yet

We’re absolutely thrilled that within 7 days of launching the crowdfunder for our legal challenge we had raised over £25,000 with 750 people donating. A huge thank you to everyone who has spread the word, donated, and shared the link to the Crowd Justice appeal. However, we need to raise a minimum of £38,000 to cover our (greatly reduced) legal costs to take this case on.

The reason we have set ourselves a stretch target of £100,000 is that things could get more complicated and costly.  This could happen if we have to broaden the scope of our challenge or if we have to appeal, or defend an appeal by the Government.

Whatever happens the money raised will not be wasted as any surplus money will be used to support local groups, and to help bring other similar transport and climate legal challenges.

As our previous update stated, our challenge is giving many people hope that things will not revert back to business-as-usual when the COVID19 crisis is over, and at last there is a real chance to stop the devastation from new road building.

The £27 billion roads programme is already looking anachronistic, announced in a pre-COVID19 lockdown era and belonging to a 20th century mindset. That’s why we’re bringing this challenge and calling for this money to be repurposed.  We believe maintenance and operations spending should be maintained on the Strategic Roads Network but capital spend on new or expanded roads (around £14 billion of the total) should be redirected to a number of other areas desperately in need of proper funding such as:

  • giving more (safe and attractive) space to people walking and cycling – locking in the benefits from the current crisis
  • tackling the £16 billion backlog in local road and bridge maintenance
  • supporting public transport which is going to need substantial investment to keep it running until confidence and demand returns post lockdown
  • investing in faster and higher capacity broadband to lock in greater homeworking to reduce traffic, reduce social isolation and improve economic efficiency

When you have the President of the AA questioning whether we should be spending so much on new roads and suggesting that investing in broadband should be a higher priority you know things are changing.  Then we’ve had the head of the Committee on Climate Change, a body not normally known for its outspoken views, saying similar things and that the Government shouldn’t be investing in things that make climate change worse.  This is pretty strong stuff and why we think this is the ideal moment for the Government to avoid our legal action by dropping its roads programme and re-purposing the money to help it start preparing for a post COVID-19 world.

In the meantime, until they see sense, please continue to share our appeal and support our campaign.  Many thanks.

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