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Critics of NDR Western Link and A47 schemes want them scrapped after Heathrow runway decision

PUBLISHED: 09:15 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:15 05 March 2020

Climate change campaigners protest over Norfolk County Council's decision on the preferred Western Link route. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Climate change campaigners protest over Norfolk County Council's decision on the preferred Western Link route. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Opponents of road schemes are hoping the legal decision to block Heathrow Airport’s extension could prevent projects such as the Norwich Western Link and work on the A47.

Green city councillor Denise Carlo. Picture: Neil DidsburyGreen city councillor Denise Carlo. Picture: Neil Didsbury

But council leaders have said they intend to push ahead with their plan to connect the Northern Distributor Road to the A47 and will keep up pressure to get work done on the A47.

Leading judges last week ruled that the government must reconsider its support for a third runway at Heathrow because of the environmental impact.

The Court of Appeal concluded the secretary of state for transport failed to take account of the government's commitments to tackling climate change when setting out support for the project in a National Policy Statement.

The government is not appealing against the decision, which was hailed by environmental campaigners, who believe it opens the door for legal challenges against other schemes.

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways and infrastructure. Picture: Simon ParkinMartin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways and infrastructure. Picture: Simon Parkin

The Western Link was highlighted by journalist George Monbiot and author Patrick Barkham as such a scheme.

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And Denise Carlo, Green city councillor, said the decision had "unleashed a genie out of the bottle which cannot be put back".

She said the dualling of North Tuddenham to Easton and the Thickthorn junction schemes would increase carbon emissions and called for Highways England to withdraw the schemes.

A Highways England spokesman said: "We support the ggvernment's commitment to meeting carbon targets and we ensure that where possible we protect and maximise the contribution to the environment as part of our decision-making."

And Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure at Norfolk County Council, said: "Longer life expectancy and population growth will lead to more homes and jobs being created in Norfolk, and it is extremely important that the council and the government invests in transport infrastructure to accommodate this growth."

He said the council took its environmental responsibilities "very seriously".

He said: "We and all transport authorities will need to take account of national policy when seeking to make infrastructure improvements.

"We will remain in close contact with colleagues in relevant government departments and statutory bodies, and continue to seek legal advice as appropriate, to make sure we're going about this in the right way."

MORE: More than £7m could be spent to pave way for NDR Western Link


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