Judge rejects Balfour Beatty roads scheme legal challenge  

Construction can now go ahead on a Balfour Beatty road scheme worth at least £228m near Manchester after objectors withdrew their legal challenge.

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) had sought a judicial review into the A57 Link Roads project, which will create two roads near the village of Mottram, Greater Manchester, after it was approved in November 2022.

The campaign group argued the Balfour Beatty scheme would unlawfully increase carbon emissions and harm the green belt.

Last November, the High Court ruled against the CPRE’s claim the project would harm the green belt last November.

In March, the High Court decided not to hear part of the claim relating to the impact of carbon emissions created by the proposed roads, according to the CPRE.

The case is now closed after CPRE’s board of trustees voted against progressing the case to the Court of Appeal.

National Highways senior project manager Andrew Dawson said: “We can now begin construction on this important scheme which will reduce congestion and improve travel times between Manchester and Sheffield.

“It will also reduce pollution for the communities of Mottram in Longdendale, and support longer term economic regional growth.”

Balfour Beatty was awarded a £108m construction contract in August 2020 to build a new dual carriageway, single lane carriageway and underpass, aiming to ease road congestion between Manchester and Sheffield.

The cost was previously estimated at £228m, but the final value is yet to be confirmed. Work was originally scheduled to start in spring 2023.

Transport minister Huw Merriman granted a development consent order for the project in November 2022 after a six month Planning Inspectorate review.

CPRE said on its website: “We remain unconvinced that the A57 Link Roads scheme will solve the problems of chronic road congestion in the Motrram and Glossop area.”

“We will continue to work with local transport groups to promote alternative low-carbon travel plans that provide viable alternatives to ever more private car journeys.”

A judge also rejected an application for judicial review in February into the A47 scheme in Norfolk, due to be delivered by Galliford Try, which had been brought on similar carbon emissions grounds.

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