Highways England said that it that it remains “confident that the scheme remains the best solution” in a project update for A38 Derby Junctions published yesterday despite planning approval for the project being overturned.
The Highways England statement comes just two weeks after a High Court decision quashed the development consent order (DCO) previously granted by the secretary for state for transport Grant Shapps in January.
Work on the £250M scheme, which involves improvements to three junctions through construction of flyovers on the A38 to reduce congestion and improve access to the M1 at junction 28, was expected to start on site this year. However, Mia Bains from Extinction Rebellion Derby’s Stop the A38 Expansion took the decision to the High Court over the significant loss of trees and public space, as well as the congestion caused by the four year construction period and carbon emitted – estimated to be 131,000t – during the build.
Highways England said that the decision was quashed “due to a challenge on our carbon assessment, which we submitted as part of our application”. However, its latest statement the roads operator reiterates that the “scheme met the requirements of the DCO application”.
The Department for Transport (DfT) told NCE that the Shapps “consented to the decision being quashed only on the basis that he did not set out in the DCO decision letter his reasons for his conclusion on the significant effects of the scheme on the environment, as required by the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017”.
Highways England project manager Chris Archbold said: “It will be a matter for the secretary of state for transport, as to whether the DCO is remade. Highways England will of course respond to any further queries or requests for information that may be made by the secretary of state in due course.”
The scheme will now be re-assessed by the Department for Transport (DfT) but when that process will take place is unclear. A spokesperson for the DfT said: “We’ve consented to the DCO for the A38 Derby Junctions being quashed. The application will now be redetermined, and so it would be inappropriate for us to comment further on this live planning application.”
The Planning Inspectorate is now expected to publish details of the re-determination process for the DCO but declined to comment further on the High Court decision or the next steps for the project.
Highways England has confirmed that planned survey work on the project in August has been paused until the DCO re-granting period is concluded. The organisation has said that subject to the DCO being re-granted in summer 2022, it expect to start construction work on the project in early winter 2022.
Department of Civil Engineering https://www.ibu.edu.ba/department-of-civil-engineering/