Stop road building that wrecks the climate and nature (A47BNB/Norfolk)

by Dr Andrew Boswell

Stop road building that wrecks the climate and nature (A47BNB/Norfolk)

by Dr Andrew Boswell
Dr Andrew Boswell
Case Owner
I am a Norfolk resident who cares passionately about the future of our precious county, our children and grandchildren.
22
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Dr Andrew Boswell
Case Owner
I am a Norfolk resident who cares passionately about the future of our precious county, our children and grandchildren.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Stop road building that wrecks the climate and nature 

Help me stop the A47 between Blofield and North Burlingham scheme (A47BNB), the first of four destructive road schemes all close to Norwich (see map below).  It is important to prevent this first scheme now by supporting this legal case.  If the A47BNB goes ahead, then the Norwich Western Link and the other Norfolk A47 schemes may be unstoppable. 

The case challenges the government’s unlawful approach of allowing large road schemes to go ahead without cumulative assessment of carbon emissions - a win could help ensure proper climate impact assessment for proposed highway schemes around the UK.

The immediate threat

Four massive road building projects are poised to devastate countryside around the historic city of Norwich by 2025.  If built, they would destroy precious wildlife habitats, increase development pressures and generate more traffic 'needing' further road building. They make it impossible for Norfolk to cut its carbon emissions this decade, vital to tackling climate change.  If this challenge is successful, it would force the Government to re-consider other road building schemes in the pipeline.

With your help, we can stop this monumental level of destruction, both in Norfolk and across the UK.


On the River Wensum floodplain where 700m viaduct is planned for 2025   

The road building explosion around Norwich

The countryside close to Norwich remains largely unspoilt with many small villages, and peaceful places for walkers, tourists and residents.  But this could change rapidly in just a few years The A47 between Blofield and North Burlingham (A47BNB) is the first of an explosion of plans for new highways and roads-led development: it was recently given planning permission by the Government. 

Four destructive road schemes, close to Norwich, and planned by 2025 (RIS2 means entirely central government funding)

When one scheme gets planning permission, it becomes more likely that others will follow.  If the A47BNB goes ahead, it will be followed by the A47 dualling from North Tuddenham to Easton (A47NTE), the enlargement of Thickthorn junction (A47THI), and the Norwich Western Link (NWL), an entirely new road cutting through open landscapes with ancient woodlands and unique ecology.  These roads could be built by 2025, destroying communities, climate and nature, and flooding traffic into the area.  Norfolk County Council plan more schemes after 2025.  (See notes on these other schemes at the end)

This challenge is to the A47BNB in Norfolk

I am challenging the A47BNB as it breaks the government's own commitments on climate change. 

Some of the same lawyers who successfully took the Government to Court on its Net Zero Strategy are acting for me.  For more on this landmark climate judgement (July 18th 2022) see https://friendsoftheearth.uk/climate/govts-climate-strategy-deemed-unlawful-historic-ruling

What’s the impact on local people? 

Walking and access to services would be disrupted by a dualled A47BNB

The A47BNB has a damaging impact on local people. The dualled road would sever existing footpaths, disconnecting the villages of Lingwood and Burlingham. Pedestrian access to schools, the train station, buses, village hall, a recreation ground, and a post office would be lost for many residents as it will be impossible to cross a dual-carriageway with 70mph traffic.  

National Highways, the road builders, have refused to provide the community with any adequate compensation, such as a footbridge, and ignored a local petition of over 1000 signatures.

Carbon emissions and fuelling car dependent development

The A47BNB would increase carbon emissions just when the Government says we must reduce them.  The Government failed to properly consider the increased carbon emissions in approving the A47BNB.  A victory in this case would force the government to take a different approach and consider the cumulative impacts of road schemes when deciding whether to permit them. There are many other reasons to support our challenge as the A47BNB would:

  • lead to more development & more traffic in the countryside close to Norwich, and cause loss of valuable farm land
  • increase noise and pollution
  • lead to further road schemes around Norwich, all causing their own destruction
  • be a waste of money when we need both a serious investment in public transport, and financial resources to help those most affected by the cost of living crisis

More about me

I am a Norfolk resident who cares passionately about the future of our precious county, and our children and grandchildren.  I am a retired computer scientist from University of East Anglia, and an expert in climate change and the carbon emissions from road building.  I have worked with many transport and environmental organisations including Norwich Friends of the Earth, Stop the Wensum link campaign, the Green Party, CPRE Norfolk, Extinction Rebellion and Transport Action Network.  I dedicate my campaigning to my first grandchild born July 15th 2022, and his generation. 

How the funds will be used

I have engaged specialist lawyers who are very experienced in planning cases relating to climate change to challenge this road scheme. They have reviewed the Secretary of State’s decision on the A47BNB, and have submitted a pre-action protocol letter (see notes below for explanation of this) to the Government for me saying it has acted unlawfully. 

The initial target is £1,000 which can hopefully be quickly reached.  Then I will stretch it to around the £5,000 needed to cover the costs for this first stage, which will include developing the detailed legal arguments. When I proceed to file the case in the High Court, more funds will be needed with further stretch targets.  I will provide regular updates here of each stage.

Please support this challenge - so that this dreadful scheme can be stopped before it’s too late.

Please give whatever you can, and share this with as many people as you can. Thank you.


Notes on the other schemes in the map

Four destructive road schemes, close to Norwich, and planned by 2025

The A47/A11 Thickthorn scheme (A47THI) extends a large roundabout with a new underpass and enlarged slip-road, plus another new road some way from the roundabout.  It would increase the traffic in the area turning the rural tranquility around Norwich into an urban sprawl.  Higher levels of traffic would surge both east towards the A47BNB and west towards the A47NTE.

The A47 dualling from North Tuddenham to Easton (A47NTE) would place a dual-carriageway along the valley of the River Tud, a rare chalk stream habitat. The road is planned to run so closely to the Tud that it would destroy the tranquility of the valley, spoil the view from the network of ancient footpaths that run in this river valley, and sever two rights of way.

The Norwich Western Link (NWL) is a highly destructive scheme which would destroy the UK’s largest super-colony of barbastelle bats, and cross the River Wensum, also a rare chalk stream, protected as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). This scheme is dependent on the A47NTE going ahead.

 For more on the NWL, see: https://www.stopthewensumlink.co.uk/.

There are several other A47 schemes planned by Norfolk County Council after 2025.

What is a pre-action protocol letter?

This is the legal letter which my lawyers have already sent to the Government before we go to the next step of asking the Court for a judicial review.  It sets out our case at a high-level, and the Government will reply with their case.  It ensures that we understand each other’s positions and can help to decide next steps.   

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