An environmental campaigner has withdrawn her judicial review challenge to Highways England’s proposal for a new bypass near Arundel in West Sussex, after the agency agreed to undertake a fresh consultation.
Dr Emma Tristam, the claimant, was granted permission by the High Court in September to bring her challenge over Highways England’s decision of 11 May 2018 to select Option 5A as its preferred route for the A27 Arundel Bypass.
The claimant argued that the information in the consultation brochure was “positively misleading”, in particular:
there were a number of errors and omissions in the consultation material that, cumulatively, could have materially impacted the consultation outcome; and
the public did not have the opportunity to comment on revised traffic figures produced after the public consultation, which reduced the benefits attributed to all options and reduced the difference between the effect the three options had in reducing traffic on alternative routes in the Downs.
Dr Tristram’s lawyers, Leigh Day, said that Highways England had made concessions and so she had agreed to withdraw her claim. Highways England has agreed to pay her legal fees.
The law firm said the claim would be withdrawn on the basis of a consent order that reflects Highways England’s assurances that include:
there will be a fresh non-statutory consultation, which will be full and open, and carried out lawfully and in compliance with the rules of procedural fairness;
a comprehensive suite of documents will be produced with updated environmental and traffic modelling data;
the three route options (Option 1, Option 3 & Option 5A) will be open for selection and following the further consultation a new Preferred Route Announcement (PRA) will be made from one of those options.
In the meantime, the current PRA will remain in place so that landowners who have applied for compensation as a result of the original PRA can have their applications processed and are afforded a degree of certainty at least until the new PRA is made.
Tessa Gregory, a partner at Leigh Day, said: “We are pleased that Highways England have committed to carrying out a new consultation which will correct errors in the previous consultation and allow our client and others a full opportunity to comment on each of the route options.
“Our client will continue to fight to ensure that the environmental damage of the proposed route is fairly and properly considered and we will continue to work with our client to ensure that Highways England keeps the promises it has made.”