Road campaigners’ legal challenge

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Anti M6 Link Road campaigners said they were mounting a legal challenge against the government’s approval of the project.

David Gate, chair of Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe (TSLM), said that the government’s decision is “flawed”, and breaks its own laws about CO2 emmissions.

He also said the argument that the road would assist the construction of a third nuclear power station at Heysham has been “undermined by the withdrawal from the scene of energy company EDF”.

Lancashire County Council’s plans for the £123m Heysham M6 Link Road were approved by the government last month.

Contractor Costain hopes to start work in July.

Martyn Butlin, from EDF Energy, which owns and operates Heysham Power Station, said that the company was now focussing on building new nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point, in Somerset, and Sizewell in Suffolk.

It is expected these would be completed by 2023.

He added: “Heysham power stations’ site was listed by the government in its National Policy Statement as a suitable site to build a new nuclear power station and we agree with that view.”

EDF Energy said it would not be drawn on whether it supported the construction of the Heysham M6 Link or not.

Heysham 1 is expected to run until 2019, with a potential extension of seven years after that, and Heysham 2 is expected to run into the 2030s.

EDF has not said if or when it will progress the plans for Heysham 3. It is not yet known whether it would be needed to satisfy the UK’s energy needs.

David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale said: “I will continue to talk to EDF and any other developer who would like to build on this unique piece of land which is designated for a nuclear power station only.”

Mr Gate went on to say: “How can such a decision be justified when the examiner accepts that the road will cause great harm to the landscape north of Lancaster?

“The examiner also said that the road is inappropriate development in the green belt and will harm wildlife.”

He added: “Despite the Climate Change Act requiring a mandatory reduction in CO2 emissions, the road will increase them.

“The examiner calls this ‘a significantly negative factor’.

“So this government project is breaking the government’s own law.

“So much for the law of the land, which the Transport Secretary is ignoring to press ahead with this polluting road.

“Sadly, he has also fallen for the county council’s argument that a saving of a meagre five minutes at peak times only is worth £123 million out of our collective pockets.”

The county council has this week submitted a notice of land acquisition in the Lancaster Guardian this week which includes 288 individual pockets of land needed as either purchases or as rights of access for the construction of the road.