DfT facing legal challenge over RIS 2


Environmental campaigners have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £38,000 to take the Department for Transport (DfT) to court and block the second road investment strategy (RIS 2).

The Transport Action Group plans to launch a judicial review with the High Court against the roads programme on environmental grounds, in the wake of a similar successful challenge against Heathrow expansion.

In a statement, the group said: 'This February, the Court of Appeal ruled Heathrow expansion plans were illegal because the Department for Transport (DfT) had ignored the Paris climate agreement. In light of this historic judgment, we wrote to the DfT to ask it to rethink road plans but never even received an acknowledgement. Instead, it went ahead and published RIS2.

'Scaling back RIS2 to focus on maintenance would allow money to be diverted into public transport, rail freight, cycling and walking. We would have cleaner air and less risk of runaway climate change. With more funding, local councils could finally tackle potholes on their existing roads.;

Speaking to Highways, a spokesman for the group said: 'Primarily the legal basis is the process for the RIS 2 was started back in 2015 and there is no way when they started they could have taken into account the Paris Agreement, the net-zero target and the issues around air quality.

'Roads that are currently compliant with the air quality limits could become non-complaint and roads that are non-compliant could take a longer time to be compliant.'

He added that maintenance work around concrete pavements or potholes, for instance, was 'entirely legitimate' but any network expansion plan should be dropped in favour of moving the cash towards local roads maintenance and encouraging a modal shift to more sustainable transport.

'There may be exceptions but the premise should be maintenance-only and any enhancements should be under close scrutiny. Expansion should be a matter of last resort.'

The Heathrow judgement ruled that plans for a third runway were unlawful as they had not taken the Paris Agreement into account. Former transport secretary Chris Grayling had apparently received legal advice that this was not necessary.

However, campaigners may find a much tougher challenge on the RIS 2. It does not make explicit reference to the agreement but it does make commitments on decarbonisation, environment and air quality.

The Draft RIS was published in October 2018 set out the Government’s objectives for RIS2 following what the DfT claims was the 'biggest exercise ever undertaken to inform national road investment'. which began in 2016 the same year of the Paris Agreement.

In the foreword from secretary of state Grant Shapps and roads minister Baroness Vere, the RIS 2 states: 'Only where existing roads are simply not up to the job the country asks of them are we asking Highways England to develop wider, realigned or, in a few cases, wholly new roads to keep people and goods moving.'

The RIS 2 document sets out a long list of enhancement schemes, however, it also outlines decarbonisation plans and air quality ambitions.

One of Highways England's key performance indicators (KPIs) is to: 'Bring links agreed with the Department and based on the Pollution Control Mapping model into compliance with legal NO2 limits in the shortest possible time.'

It also has a KPI to 'reduce Highways England’s carbon emissions as a result of electricity consumption, fuel use and other day-to-day operational activities during RP2, to levels defined by baselining and target setting activities in 2020-21.'

And its Environment and Wellbeing designated fund is set at £345m, much larger than any other designated fund, with £216m set aside for Innovation and Modernisation, £169m for Users and Communities and just £140m for Safety and Congestion.

Overall, the RIS 2 sets aside around £14.1bn of its £27.3bn total for enhancements but this covers of the enhancement of existing structures as well as new roads.

The Department for Transport has been approached for comment.

Register now for full access

Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

comments powered by Disqus
highways jobs

Senior Structures Engineer

Kent County Council
£33,678 per annum
We are looking to recruit a Senior Structures Engineer to provide engineering support for maintenance of highway structures, liaising and... Kent
Recuriter: Kent County Council

Contracts and Strategy Manager

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£42684 - £45585 per annum
The Directorate of Communities & Environment prides itself on the service it provides to the residents of Royal Greenwich. We are looking to recruit s England, London, Greenwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Regeneration Delivery Manager - Heritage Action Zone

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£42684 - £45585 per annum
(Fixed Term Opportunity until March 2024)Woolwich town is undergoing a period of intensive regeneration with huge investment in new housing, transport England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Senior Local Engineer

Birmingham City Council
£27,741 - £34,728
The Senior Local Engineer role is to provide technical service at senior level to Local Engineering teams Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham City Council

Traffic & Transportation Engineer

Conwy County Borough Council
£41,881 - £44,863 per annum
You should have a degree or diploma in civil engineering or other relevant discipline, and extensive experience in... North Wales
Recuriter: Conwy County Borough Council

Principal Development Co-ordinator

Gloucestershire County Council
£33,799.00 - £38,813.00 + 12% MRS
Leading on the review of Major Development Proposals. Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Recuriter: Gloucestershire County Council

Highways Development Management (HDM) Manager

Gloucestershire County Council
£53,445.00 - £58,008.00 + MRS
To oversee all aspects of Highways Development Management from pre application discussions to road adoption. Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Recuriter: Gloucestershire County Council

Principal Development Engineer

Gloucestershire County Council
£33,799.00 - £38,813.00 + 12% MRS
You will be responsible for undertaking design audit of third party developer works under Section 38 and 278 of the Highways Act 1980. Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Recuriter: Gloucestershire County Council

Director of Environment

Southwark London Borough Council
Up to £136,000
A fairer future for all A fairer future for all Southwark, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Southwark London Borough Council

Director of Public Health

Southwark London Borough Council
Up to £136,000
A fairer future for all Southwark, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Southwark London Borough Council

Parks Development Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£26,999 - £29,636 per annum
You will work with community groups, organisations, ward members, residents and colleagues in order to... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Head of Infrastructure & Facilities

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
circa 100k
We are seeking a Head of Infrastructure & Facilities to lead the strategic management of the service in a unique and exciting opportunity for a... Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire
Recuriter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Senior Professional and Technical Officer – Project Manager

Bristol City Council
£32,910 - £34,728
We are seeking to appoint a Project Manager, to work in the Transport Service, to help support the delivery of the above plans. Bristol
Recuriter: Bristol City Council

Skilled Road Worker (TRR)

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£26,025 - £31,536 depending on knowledge, skills and experience
Do you want to be part of a supportive team and use an innovative method of working on the highway? London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Executive Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£26,025 - £34,479 depending on skills
Are you looking for an opportunity within a friendly and supporting team? London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Assistant Director of Transport & Sustainability

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£93,098 - £102,841
This dynamic role will see you provide strategic leadership to our transport strategy Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Highways Customer Communications Officer

North Yorkshire County Council
£27,741 to £30,451
We are looking for a strong communicator to join our Highways Team in Boroughbridge.   Boroughbridge, York
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Street Cleaning Operative / Driver

Barnet London Borough Council
Competitive Salary
We are looking for hard working, motivated, reliable people to join our team. Barnet (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Barnet London Borough Council

Senior Network Support Engineer

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£36,600 - £49,600 per annum
We are looking for an experienced Senior Networks Support Engineer to provide up to date... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Director of Environment & Street Scene

Lambeth Council
£108,254 pa up to £122,045 pa.
Working with the community, you’ll ensure a safe, clean and sustainable environment for all Lambeth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Lambeth Council