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 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 ancient 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 has criticised and is currently being challenged in the courts after Transport Secretary approved the scheme against the advice of the Planning Inspectorate. Elsewhere, Highways England 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 proving 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 can still have too much emphasis on new trunk roads.

Please get in touch if you need help or advice on how to challenge a new or expanded road being promoted by Highways England. 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: