BBOWT response to High Court decision about Expressway

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

The High Court has refused permission for Berks, 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, at Berks, 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.’