Environmental campaigners have launched a legal challenge against transport secretary Mark Harper’s decision to approve National Highways’ A57 Link Roads scheme. The upgrade is a new 3.2km bypass between Manchester and Sheffield that will run from the roundabout at the end of the M67 to a new junction on the A57 in Woolley Bridge. It will feature two new link roads – a dual carriageway to the north of Mottram which will connect the motorway roundabout to the A57 at Mottram Moor and a new single carriageway road from Mottram Moor to Woolley Bridge. The scheme has been in the works for over five years, with National Highways confirming its preferred route for the £228M project in 2016 and awarding Balfour Beatty a £108M construction contract in 2020. Harper approved the scheme in November 2022 following a six-month examination by the Planning Inspectorate. The Peak District and South Yorkshire branch of CPRE, the countryside charity, is pursuing a judicial review of Harper’s decision, saying that the road is an “attack on the Peak District National Park, on the Greater Manchester Green Belt and on the climate”. The charity asserts that Harper failed in his statutory duty to consider the environmental impact of the new roads, including the cumulative impact of the carbon that will be emitted from its construction and operation. It adds that Harper failed to consider reasonable alternatives to the new roads which means he did not demonstrate the “very special circumstances” needed to build on the Green Belt.

CPRE also Disputes National Highways’ claims That The New Road Will Relieve.

chronic confestion on the A57 trunk route between Glossop and the M67. During the public examination of the plans it presented evidence from a transport planner that showed that it will make local problems worse; increasing carbon emissions, accidents and traffic through the national park and local villages. CPRE campaigner Anne Robinson said: “This is a disgraceful decision, not only because the Secretary of State dismissed all the adverse impacts of the scheme on people and the environment but also because it will enable the long planned dualling of the A628 corridor through our first National Park.” National Highways project manager Andy Dawson said: “We are aware that a challenge has been submitted against the decision to grant a Development Consent Order (DCO) for the A57 Link Roads scheme. “The A57 is a key route between Manchester and Sheffield which currently suffers from heavy congestion. We believe our proposals will provide relief for thousands of commuters, hauliers and drivers who use this vitally important route every day, while also delivering an economic boost to both city regions.”