M6 Link legal challenge launched

View of M6 Junction 34. Re Link Road. Stock Pic. Heysham Bypass.
View of M6 Junction 34. Re Link Road. Stock Pic. Heysham Bypass.
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Campaigners have launched a legal challenge against the decision to approve the Heysham M6 Link Road

Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe (TSLM), who oppose the building of the road, said the challenge is based on five grounds and that their legal advice is that the decision was wrong in law.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin granted approval for the road, which would connect the M6 at Junction 34 and the Morecambe and Heysham peninsular, on March 19.

His decision was based on the report from the Planning Inspectorate’s Peter Robottom, following the Examination in Lancaster Town Hall in the summer of last year.

David Gate, chair of TSLM said: “The decision was a great disappointment to opponents of this controversial project,”

“It is the wrong solution to the district’s transport problems.

But we have sought legal advice, and that advice is that the decision is wrong in law, too.

“The consensus opinion is that there are 5 very substantial grounds on which the decision should be challenged, ranging from incorrect treatment of European nature conservation designations to the fact that the scheme is not and never was a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.

“These areas of concern call into question the legality of the decision made by the Transport Secretary.”

TSLM said it has already had pledges of financial support for such a review, and that support makes the challenge a viable one.

He added: “There is still so much opposition to this damaging scheme.”

“We owe it to the many people who have objected strongly to follow the legal advice we are receiving.”

The grounds of the challenge are:

1. The scheme is not a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, under the Planning Act, so should not have been dealt with by IPC/NID.

2. Consultation was inadequate because Lancashire County Council ruled out discussion of the principle of the scheme and the route chosen.

3. National Policy Statements on Ports and Nuclear Power were used to justify the scheme, but were not relevant in the absence of any definite plans.

4. The Western route was wrongly dismissed, without going through the appropriate procedures.

5. LCC failed to carry out surveys of otters, a European Protected Species, as they were legally obliged to do, so failed to assess potential harm to them.