News and Star / The Cumberland News:

A HEARING date has been announced following a legal challenge against £1.5 billion plans to turn parts of the A66 into a dual carriageway.

Transport Action Network (TAN) launched the challenge in May as they believe that the Secretary of State’s decision to dual the 80-kilometre stretch between Penrith and Scotch Corner in North Yorkshire was “flawed”.

The initial hearing will be held at the High Court in London on October 23, 2024.

Plans were approved by the Transport Secretary on March 7, 2024, after the project was first tabled back in 2016.

Chris Todd, TAN’s founder and director, criticised the £1.5 billion A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project, citing environmental and safety concerns.

“The £1.5 billion A66 Northern Trans-Pennine represents very poor value for money and will cause great harm to important landscapes and wildlife.

“At a time when we are experiencing more flooding due to climate change, it will drive up carbon emissions by 2.7 million tonnes.

“By encouraging more HGVs it will also make the existing parts of the A66 that are already dualled more dangerous,” he said.

The group has so far raised over £10,000 in a fundraiser contributing to their legal challenge.

National Highways have said they will fully support the legal process as the challenge passes through court.

“We have been designing and developing the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project, and we will continue to carry out archaeological investigations and preparatory works including utilities diversions during 2024,” a spokesperson said.

“At this stage, it is too early to say how much of an impact the legal challenge will have on our programme and start of works.

“We are disappointed about the legal challenge as we believe our proposals will provide much-needed improved safety and reliability for drivers and businesses that use this vitally important route every day, while also delivering a boost to the regional economy,” they said.


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