The High Court has refused permission forBerks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust’s (BBOWT) claim against the government regarding the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.

By Claire Fowler

Press release 

 

 

BBOWT response to High Court decision

 

The High Court has refused permission forBerks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust’s (BBOWT) claim against the government regarding the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.

 

In November 2018, we issued a claim in the High Court, challenging the government’s failure to commission a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) or a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) as part of the process of selecting a ‘Growth Corridor’ (within which the Expressway and associated housing will be built).

 

In response to the High Court decision, Matthew Stanton, Head of Planning, Policy and Advocacy, atBerks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, said: ‘We do not regard this as the end of the legal process, and we will apply for the court to revisit this decision at an oral hearing. We are resolute in our determination to protect wildlife from the impact of the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.

 

‘A Strategic Environmental Assessment is required under European law for schemes that impact on the environment such as this. This means the true environmental impact has not been properly considered, and the public has been denied the opportunity to fully scrutinise the implications of the scheme.

 

‘The government has committed to leave the environment in a better state than they found it, but it is unclear how the Expressway and its potential impact on protected habitats is compatible with this ambition.’

 

Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust will issue another statement when we and our lawyers have decided our next steps.

 

Tessa Gregory, Partner at Leigh Day, said: ‘We are disappointed that the paper application for permission for judicial review was not granted, but that is not the end of the process. We will now renew the application for permission to be heard at an oral hearing, where the grounds can be argued in front of a judge and we hope the decision will be overturned.’

 

ENDS

 

Notes for editors:

 

  1. At the end of October 2018, the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave his support for the National Infrastructure Commission’s recommendation to build up to one million new homes in the vicinity of the Expressway. This could see the number of homes across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes nearly double.

 

  1. We have the support of The Wildlife Trusts nationally, and witness statements backing our case have been supplied by RSPB,Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Plantlife and Horton cum Studley Expressway Group. We also have the support of the River Thame Conservation Trust and The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, and some parish councils located within the areas that are in danger of being affected by the development.

 

  1. In November 2018, we launched a fundraiser to help cover fees for this legal challenge http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/expresswaySo far it has raised more than £33,000 thanks to the generosity of the public.

 

Contact for more information:

 

Carolyne Culver

Media and Campaigns Manager

Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust

carolyneculver@bbowt.org.uk

01865 775476 ext. 234

(m) 07976 374146

www.bbowt.org.uk/expressway

 

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) is one of 46 local Wildlife Trusts across the UK working to achieve the shared aim of securing a better future for wildlife.  Our vision is to create a region rich in wildlife and valued by all. We manage 88 nature reserves across the three counties, work with other agencies and individuals to help safeguard the wider countryside, and aim to inspire people to take action for wildlife.  BBOWT has a membership of 52,000. For more information visit www.bbowt.org.uk