Norfolk Local Transport Plan Legal Review Threatened

5:55 PM May 11, 2022

The chances of the Norwich Western Link road project being embroiled in a legal challenge in the High Court have intensified.

Lawyers for an campaigner against the route are threatening a wider legal challenge to Norfolk County Council’s transport plan, which includes the controversial scheme.

Law firm Leigh Day has written to County Hall warning that Andrew Boswell, former Green County and City Councilman, is set to seek a judicial review of the local transportation plan.

This plan is the council’s vision, through to 2036, to improve highways, encourage the use of walking, cycling, bus and rail, and to complete major projects like the Western Link and the Long Stratton Bypass.

The Western Link is part of the Local Travel Plan
– Credit: Norfolk County Council

The strategy was adopted last year, but consultations have recently taken place on its implementation plan – how the council plans to put it in place.

Critics previously sent the council a letter, warning of a possible legal challenge – and that has now been escalated with a follow-up letter.

In it, the London-based lawyers “propose a claim for judicial review of the council’s decision to consult in the way it did” on the local transport plan.

A judicial review is where a judge examines the legality of a decision or action taken by a public body.

Norfolk County Council recently lost court reviews for adult social care billing and its official response to plans to move farm machinery company Ben Burgess to Swainsthorpe.

In the letter, the lawyers say the local transportation plan contained no quantification and assessment of the carbon emissions it would cause – or how to reduce them and that it was “illegal” to promote it in two stages – the plan and the implementation plan.

Andrew Boswell

Andrew Boswell, former town and county councillor.
– Credit: Norwich Green Party

Lawyers said Mr Boswell was prepared to file for judicial review unless council reviewed and consulted the plan again.

A Norfolk County Council spokesperson said: ‘We have received the pre-action letter from solicitors for Leigh Day and will respond in due course.

Mr Boswell was not available to comment, but David Pett, of the group Stop Wensum Link, said: ‘The group fully supports the legal steps taken to hold the council accountable for its intention to introduce a transport plan which, if adopted as drawn, would almost certainly leave Norfolk stuck in the Dark Ages for many years to come.”