A £27bn expansion of England’s road network has been thrown into doubt after documents showed the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, overrode official advice to review the policy on environmental grounds, the Guardian can reveal. It has been a legal requirement to take into account the environmental impact of such projects since 2014. Shapps appears to have pressed ahead despite the advice of civil servants in his own department.
The details are set out in court papers that form part of a legal challenge to the policy, which was described by the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, last March as the country’s “largest ever” roadbuilding programme.
Lawyers for the campaign group Transport Action Network (TAN) have sought a judicial review of the strategy to develop road projects nationwide, including the Stonehenge tunnel, the A46 Newark bypass and the Lower Thames Crossing.