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After Heathrow Victory, BBC & Climate Activists Target UK Road Expansion

BBC News

After blockading the expansion of Heathrow airport the all-out climate law fare against Britain’s development and infrastructure programme took another turn with attempts to stop the government’s road programme

Plans for a £28.8bn roads programme could be challenged in the courts for breaching the UK’s laws on climate change.

The plans, due to be published next month, don’t take into account commitments on reducing emissions, the BBC has learned.

They are likely to face legal challenges from environmentalists.

On Thursday a court ruled that plans to expand Heathrow had failed to take climate policies into account.

What are the plans?

The prime minister has promised many new roads, with infrastructure spending focused on northern England.

But it is officials who make decisions over which roads are value for money and should go-ahead.

They are supposed to weigh the benefits of a proposed road – for example how much time drivers will save if it is built – against the drawbacks, including the potential for increased carbon emissions.

What is the problem?

The current value-for-money assessment was done under guidelines last updated in April 2019, when the UK was planning to cut emissions by 80% by 2050.

But two months later the target was raised, committing the UK to cutting almost 100% of emissions by the same date. 

BBC News has learned that the guidelines haven’t yet been updated to take the tougher targets into account.

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