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Keltbray, Kier and Balfour Beatty are contracted to deliver the A66 project. Credit: National Highways

Legal challenge issued for £1.5bn dualling of the A66

Justifying its objection, sustainable travel campaigner Transport Action Network said the Northern Trans-Pennine road project was “very poor value for money and will cause great harm to important landscape and wildlife.”

Those words came from TAN rounder and director Chris Todd. Todd went on to say that the National Highways A66 dualling scheme, which has approval from the secretary of state, could increase carbon emissions by 2.7m tonnes by encouraging more vehicles on the road.

“We believe the secretary of state has not considered these issues properly, gambling away £1.5bn of taxpayers’ money in the process,” Todd said.

“National Highways should instead be implementing cheaper and quicker safety measures on this road, for a fraction of the cost and without harming the environment or taking us backwards on climate.”

The A66 dualling project received its development consent order in March to widen a stretch of 18 miles that is part of the 50-mile carriageway between Penrith and Scotch Corner.

Kier, Keltbray, and Balfour Beatty have been signed on to deliver the scheme since October 2022.

National Highways said it would continue to develop the project, despite the legal challenge – with an aim to begin archaeological works and initial utility diversions this year.

As for the impact the legal challenge would have on the programme in the long term, the National Highways team said it was too early to say. The group added that it “will fully support the legal process”.

Stewart Jones, the National Highways project director for the scheme, discussed why dualling is necessary on the A66.

“The A66 is a key route in the north of England and helps connect Cumbria with Durham,” Jones said. “The route currently suffers from heavy congestion and has a poor collision record.

“We believe our proposals will provide smoother and safer journeys for thousands of commuters, hauliers and drivers who use this vitally important route every day, while also delivering an economic boost to the North.”

Your Comments

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Folk like this would have ensured that our canals, railways and motorways were never built. Leaving lots of pretty scenery though, but nobody about to see it, apart from the insects.

By Anonymous


By Tannoy

We live in a country where the infrastructure at every level is not fit for purpose, so just get on and deliver it.

By Grump Old Git

£1.5bn – what a total waste of money for a scheme which won’t do anything to improve congestion. One more lane bro

By Anonymous

Perhaps a challenge to dualling the A66 would be justified if there really were alternatives, but the railway between Penrith and Darlington was destroyed by our politicians decades ago. Meantime every additional injury or death on the A66 while the upgrading is held up in the courts, should be on Mr Todd’s conscience. Peoples’ lives are important, too.

By Tweeter

£1.5 billion is absurd for only 18 miles (£83m per mile) and its not even for a new road.
Friends of the Earth forecast in 2019 that making all bus journeys free in England would cost £3 billion. Government really has the wrong transport priorities.

By Anonymous

Get it built

By Stuart wood

For goodness sake, just get on and build it.

By Matthew Jones

As a local this needs built asap. Also doing something with the road to Keswick would be ideal.

By Mark

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