Transport Action Network statement on the postponement of the A66 Northern Trans Pennine

Responding to the Government delaying a decision on the £1.5 billion A66 Northern Trans Pennine [1] until 7 March 2024 [2], Transport Action Network’s roads and climate campaigner Rebecca Lush said:

“Unsurprisingly, the Secretary of State is in no rush to approve this controversial and costly mega-road scheme. It will harm precious landscapes, damage internationally important habitats, destroy a seven-centuries old gypsy horse fair site, and increase carbon emissions by over 2.7 million tonnes [3]. Project Speed has finally hit the buffers of reality.

“This is the eighteenth time in just four years [4] that the Secretary of State has delayed a decision on large road schemes. Rather than blaming ‘planning’ or objectors for delays, it is time the DfT and National Highways took responsibility for their own actions. Instead of progressing destructive, carbon-intensive road schemes they should focus on delivering better public transport in the north.

“The National Audit Office this week gave the Department for Transport the lowest possible rating for delivering on its legal climate, air quality and biodiversity targets [5]. Unless the DfT reconsiders outdated road schemes such as the A66, the £10 billion Lower Thames Crossing and the A303 Stonehenge through the World Heritage Site, it is going to continue to fail.”

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors

For further information please contact Rebecca Lush on 07380 666802 and

[1] The A66 Northern Trans Pennine project was costed at £1.49 billion in the Funding Statement, submitted by National Highways as part of the examination into the Development Consent Order (DCO) application. The project is part of the Government Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP), and comprises eight separate projects under one Development Consent Order. The Government included the A66 as part of ‘Project Speed’ in 2020, as a ‘pathfinder’ project for faster decision making.

[2] The Written Statement was published this morning

[3] TAN has participated throughout the A66 consultations and examination. For a summary of the scheme impacts, please see our website. The Brough Hill horse fair was granted by Royal Charter by Edward III in 1329. The fair has been held every year for almost seven centuries. The gypsy community are vigorously opposing the alternative fair site offered by National Highways.

[4] Table showing the delays to National Highways road schemes caused by the Secretary of State for Transport postponing decision making on Development Consent Orders, October 2023

[5] DfT’s Departmental Overview 2022-23, National Audit Office, November 2023 gave the highest possible risk exposure rating that the “DfT does not deliver sufficient action in the transport sector to provide carbon savings, meet air quality and biodiversity targets, and adapt to climate change, as required by law.”


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