Strategic Roads

These roads are highly damaging

During the first Roads Investment Strategy (RIS1) with its £15 billion budget for the strategic roads network (motorways, many dual carriageways and some single carriageway A-roads), Highways England (now National Highways) struggled to build as many new roads as it had hoped. Many of these highly damaging schemes have been moved into the current / second strategy period (2020-2025) (RIS2) including the A27 Arundel Bypass and the A5036 Port of Liverpool Access Road, both of which were the subject of legal action. The first would impact on the setting of the South Downs National Park and destroy important woodland while the second would destroy Rimrose Valley Country Park, going right down the middle of it!

Then we have the £2 billion Stonehenge tunnel, which UNESCO criticised, the Planning Inspectorate recommended refusal but Grant Shapps approved anyway, only to have his approval quashed in the High Court. However, he appears determined to bulldoze this scheme through regardless of the damage to the World Heritage Site. Elsewhere, National Highways plans to splash £8 billion or more on a Lower Thames Crossing and is threatening the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with its plans for the A417's so called 'Missing Link'.  Here it chose the cheapest most damaging option despite the more expensive tunnel route having more economic benefits. The Peak District is also threatened as is a swathe of countryside between Oxford and Cambridge with a new expressway despite claims that the expressway is dead. In London we've published a report on the impact of the proposed Silvertown Tunnel and how it will undermine the mayor's ambition for a 2030 carbon neutral city.

Despite the more progressive outlook of some sub-national (regional) transport bodies, their transport strategies still contain too much emphasis on new trunk roads.

All of these big road schemes are considered to be Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) and go through a special planning process which has been designed to speed up the process of building them.

Please get in touch if you need help or advice on how to challenge a new or expanded road being promoted by National Highways. You might also usefully look at Campaign for Better Transport's Roads Campaigner Guide which contains a lot of useful tips and information and its companion guides on: