Stop the climate and nature wrecking A38 road expansion for good

by Stop the A38 Expansion Group

Stop the climate and nature wrecking A38 road expansion for good

by Stop the A38 Expansion Group
Stop the A38 Expansion Group
Case Owner
We're a group of local residents who want to stop the carbon-emitting, polluting, nature-destroying A38 Derby Junctions road scheme.
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pledged of £36,000 stretch target from 611 pledges
Pledge now
Stop the A38 Expansion Group
Case Owner
We're a group of local residents who want to stop the carbon-emitting, polluting, nature-destroying A38 Derby Junctions road scheme.
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!)

Latest: Nov. 17, 2023

Financial update - more funds needed now

We are at a crucial stage in our legal proceedings, and urgently need additional funds.

At the time of writing we have raised almost £26,000, and have a short term target of £36,000. So we…

Read more

We successfully stopped the A38 road expansion with a Crowd Justice campaign before and we can do it again with your help. 

If the A38 development consent order had not been quashed in March 2021, then thousands of trees would now be felled, wildlife habitats would be destroyed and polluting construction work would be underway.

National Highways (formerly Highways England) are still trying to bulldoze through the A38 Derby Junctions road scheme, despite our successful legal challenge in March 2021, when consent for the road expansion was quashed in the High Court on the grounds of climate change. 

Transport Minister Grant Shapps admitted he had acted unlawfully when he approved the scheme as he failed to consider the cumulative impacts of the carbon emissions.  

However, he has said he will redetermine the application after seeking further information from National Highways and objectors on their plans to expand the A38 between the Kingsway and Little Eaton roundabouts, effectively turning part of it into a motorway by creating six lanes of traffic along with huge concrete underpasses and flyovers. 

This is despite knowing that the emissions from the road's construction, the pollution from the resulting increased traffic and the loss of thousands of trees would be disastrous for the global fight against climate change.

We need your help to hire legal experts to submit evidence to stop this scheme being pushed through.

Construction of the new road scheme will involve:

After construction:

This case is unprecedented and will have implications for other carbon intensive Government schemes...

If we succeed in stopping the A38 road scheme again, it could have far-reaching consequences nationally. That’s because the Government is planning to spend £27 billion over the next five years on building 4,000 miles of new roads around the country (Road Investment Strategy 2 – RIS2). This will increase carbon emissions on the strategic road network by 20 millions of tons at a time when they must reduce buy 167 million tons. 

How does the Government get away with approving these damaging schemes? It does it by looking at each new road scheme in isolation, without taking into account the carbon emissions from other planned developments. National Highways is arguing that the tonnes of carbon emitted from the A38 expansion is a tiny proportion of national carbon emissions, and is therefore insignificant, but it’s colossal when added to all the other proposed developments locally and nationally. 

It begs the question, do Government ministers not understand carbon budgets and the catastrophic impacts of climate change... or are they wilfully ignoring the climate science and environmental laws for short term economic gains? Either way, they are risking millions of lives and jeopardising the future of human civilisation. 

If we are able to prove how detrimental the A38 expansion would be in the global fight against climate change, RIS2 would also be threatened, meaning that it may lead to many other environmentally damaging new roads plans being scrapped.


Air pollution is deadly 

It is totally irresponsible and dangerous when the Government knows that pollution kills and Derby has already been identified as having unsafe levels of pollution at sites in the inner city. Road traffic pollution is a silent killer. It can cause asthma, heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and dementia, among many other health conditions. 

Some try to claim the scheme will make air quality safe around the A38. It may lower pollution in some areas if traffic is idling less, but there will still be unsafe levels of air pollution as long as road vehicles are burning fossil fuels and generating particulate matter from tyres and brakes. If you look at the planning documents and compare them to WHO recommended levels of safe air pollution, they will still fail to meet them. 

Climate Crisis: "Code red for humanity"

The United Nations has called the latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report "a code red for humanity", stating that we need immediate action to cut carbon emissions if we are to avert catastrophe, and that "there is no room for excuses". 

The naturalist Sir David Attenborough has said climate change is humanity's greatest threat in thousands of years - it could lead to the collapse of civilisations and the extinction of "much of the natural world". 

 Shockingly, our Transport Minister Grant Shapps and National Highways still seem to think it’s worth risking billions of lives and the collapse of civilisation by pushing through carbon intensive, nature destroying, outdated road schemes. They are ignoring these deafening alarm bells about the climate crisis, putting all of our lives in grave danger while sending future generations into a hellish future of deadly extreme weather events and wars over habitable land, food and water - all for “improved journey times” and “economic benefits” dispute the mountains of evidence that shows that road schemes fail to deliver these in the long term. 

This is urgent

The Government and local authorities who support this scheme are prioritising more tarmac for more traffic and more profits for developers over our health, over green spaces, over wildlife and over legally binding climate action. 

They should be doing everything they can to prevent further climate change and reduce pollution. They should not be spending £250 million in Derby (and £90 billion nationally over the next 15 years) on expanding roads that will help accelerate us towards a climate catastrophe and will reduce the quality of life of many of the city’s residents. To stand any chance of limiting the increase in global temperature to 1.5°C we need to stop building roads and stop increasing road traffic NOW, not in a few years' time. The UN says that we are already "perilously close" to this temperature rise, so we have very little time left.

We really can't let this new road scheme go ahead. We have to take drastic action in the fight against climate change. That means not increasing carbon emissions and investing in sustainable, low carbon transport instead of even more roads.

How can you help?

We cannot allow National Highways and the Government to continue to pander to the powerful road lobby and put billions of lives at risk from climate breakdown. 

We need to raise an initial £3,500 to pay for legal experts to fight plans for the A38 expansion and we would be so grateful if you could donate to our Crowd Justice page to help us put a stop to this destructive new road scheme once and for all. 

We successfully stopped the A38 expansion before and we can do it again with your help. If the development consent order had not been quashed in March 2021, then the thousands of trees would now be felled, wildlife habitats would be destroyed and polluting construction work would be underway. 

Whatever amount you can give will help enormously. 

Thank you! We are so grateful for your donation and your support. Please spread the word by sharing this page and by telling as many people as you can about it. 

You may also like to join our Facebook group to keep in touch and find out about the latest developments.

Find out more about the A38 Derby Junctions road scheme here:

Update 13

Stop the A38 Expansion Group

Nov. 17, 2023

Financial update - more funds needed now

We are at a crucial stage in our legal proceedings, and urgently need additional funds.

At the time of writing we have raised almost £26,000, and have a short term target of £36,000. So we need to raise an additional £10,000 right now. The government and the courts make it very expensive for us with the legal costs of the various stages of the judicial process.

Our legal representatives now need to prepare for, and attend, an oral hearing for a judge to decide whether we go to trial.

This is roughly where we are financially (spend to-date and committed):

  • Costs prior to this second legal challenge: £8,400
  • Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) stage: £8,000
  • Permission stage: £12,000
  • Possible cost of oral hearing stage: £7,000

We will have additional costs when we have the substantive hearing (trial).

They may try and deter us with costs, but we have the advantage of broad community support from our amazing supporters! These costs, shared amongst all of us, are manageable.

We have good grounds to challenge the development consent order. We will stop the government ignoring pollution laws. We will stop the government using an irrational approach to cumulative carbon emissions.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support.

Update 12

Stop the A38 Expansion Group

Nov. 3, 2023

Government tells us they are “confident” with no credible plans or evidence

Last week the Government responded to our statement of facts and grounds for the legal challenge. Basically they deny all the grounds, claiming they’re not acting unlawfully (but they admitted it was unlawful in 2021 ) and are “confident” they’ll meet climate targets with no credible plans or evidence. 

So we’ll see them in court. 

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported our legal challenge so far. We urgently need to raise about another £7,000 to finish applying to the court for a trial. If you can donate again or share the legal challenge with someone else who might be able to donate, we would be so grateful. 

Update on our legal challenge

Derby and Derbyshire were severely impacted by flooding from storm Babet, especially Breadsall village near one of the proposed A38 expansion roundabouts. Yet while many people in Britain deal with the disruption and damage caused by extreme rainfall, the Government continues to fail us on the escalating climate crisis by trying to push through more roads, air ports and fossil fuel projects while slashing environmental policies.

The Government claims the A38 expansion won’t cause them to breach legally binding carbon targets despite…

Yet the Government tells us they are “confident” they’ll manage to meet these targets without any evidence of how they'll do this. 

Please continue to donate and support our legal challenge to hold the Government to account. 

We know this Government is assaulting the environment, human rights and civil liberties and many ministers have ties to the fossil fuels industry and other polluting industries. They’ve brought in authoritarian anti-protest laws lobbied for by fossil fuel funded think tanks and rushed through election reforms to cling onto power. 

Legal challenges like ours are one of the most powerful ways ordinary people can hold this criminal and uncaring Government to account. Climate legislation with carbon budget targets were introduced to protect us and the rest of life on Earth from runaway climate breakdown. The Government wants to carry on with business as usual to line the pockets of their polluting party donors and corporate lobbyists. It’s up to us to force them to follow the law. 

Please keep supporting by donating to and sharing our legal challenge. 

HS2 cancellation fallout - Demand a roads review

Other road legal challenge news 

Dr Andrew Boswell’s important road legal challenge appeal has been granted permission to proceed to the Court of Appeal, with a hearing scheduled for 16 January. He is challenging three A47 schemes in Norfolk on the grounds that the carbon impact was not properly assessed. The outcome of Dr Boswell’s brave and pioneering legal action could influence many other road scheme approvals and legal challenges (including A303 Stonehenge, A38 Derby, A57 Link Roads, and the A66 Northern Trans Pennine), so it could not be more important. He still needs to raise more money for this important appeal, so please support him if you can. 

The important A303 Stonehenge case should be heard in December, and the A38 Derby and the A57 Link challenges will be heard, or decided, after the A47 case in January. A decision on planning permission is expected on the A66 across the North Pennines on 7 November, which threatens landscapes, rare habitats and the site of a centuries old gypsy horse fair. The DfT and National Highways are trying to bulldoze these schemes through in the face of fierce opposition, while ignoring the climate emergency and other environmental and social considerations.

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported our legal challenge so far. We urgently need to raise about another £7,000 to finish applying to the court for a trial.

If you can donate again or share the legal challenge with someone else who might be able to donate, we would be so grateful. 

Follow us on social media: 

Update 11

Stop the A38 Expansion Group

Oct. 19, 2023

Local Councillors say the A38 will come at a high financial & environmental cost

Councillors from Amber Valley Borough Council wrote a statement outlining why the A38 expansion is not worth the environmental and financial costs. This follows Breadsall Parish Council also sending our campaign to stop the A38 expansion a letter of support. 

Read their statements on our campaign website. 

Our campaign has frequently highlighted how the primary purpose of the A38 scheme is to create additional road capacity to enable more developments, especially on greenfield sites to the West of Derby. 

Page 5 of the Secretary of State's Decision Letter on the A38 said: “The Secretary of State has had further regard to the DCCS that makes a provision for a minimum of 11,000 new homes and 199ha (gross) of new employment land. Without the additional highway capacity provided to these areas the Secretary of State notes that the planned growth would be adversely affected”. 

National Highways planning documents also predict an increase in emissions from additional traffic. 

When that additional capacity is created for a minimum of 11,000 developments, the roads will fill up again. The A38 road layout was last updated in the 1980’s for the same reasons of facilitating development and reducing congestion, but within 20 years, there was talk of expanding it further. 

Studies have shown throughout the years that new roads don’t ease congestion, but make it worse, because the ‘induced’ traffic fills up all of the new road space and spills over onto the rest of the road network.

Most recently, research on British road schemes from Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) proved that traffic on average grew 47% more than background levels, with one scheme more than doubling traffic within 20 years.

It would be more efficient, less destructive, less disruptive and less wasteful to invest in alternative forms of transport so a percentage of journeys on the A38 are shifted to another mode of transport. 

It is unsustainable for roads to keep expanding to accommodate ever increasing traffic levels when there are other cheaper, less disruptive, less environmental harmful options. 

See our key facts on the A38 expansion page for more information:

Legal challenge update

We are still waiting for the Government's response since our lawyers filed court papers. Please keep sharing and donating to support or legal challenge. If we go to trial we will need to raise more than the £30,000 target currently sign but it will be worth it to stop this pointless road scheme worsening both the ongoing climate and ecological crisis. 

Another road scheme was granted an appeal hearing. The outcome of this case could have implications for one of our grounds on cumulative carbon emissions. So we will be watching Dr Boswell’s case closely. 

Thank you,

The Stop the A38 expansion campaign group

Support our campaign and follow us on social media: 

Update 10

Stop the A38 Expansion Group

Oct. 4, 2023

Court papers submitted

At the end of last week our lawyers filed the papers for judicial review with the court. The Government has 21 days to respond from that date. Then we will see if we go to trial. If we go to trial we may need to raise £60,000 in total!

Thank you everyone for your support, please keep sharing our legal challenge and telling people you know about it:

Recently, Tory Councilors claimed the £250m A38 expansion would relieve congestion and benefit the local economy while branding critics of the scheme as “anti-business”.  In our latest blog we evidence why the even the economic case for the A38 scheme is deeply flawed: 

We've also created a handy facts page about the A38 expansion. Helpful to refer to when having conversations about the scheme:

Thanks for your support. 

Update 9

Stop the A38 Expansion Group

Sept. 27, 2023

We've almost reached £20,000!

Our legal challenge fund has almost reached £20,000! Thank you for all your support!.

Together, we’re trying to save thousands of trees, wildlife habitats, public green spaces, homes and prevent worsening the climate crisis by stopping the pointless, wasteful, polluting and destructive A38 road expansion. 

Thanks to everyone who has shared and donated. Please keep sharing the link to our legal challenge as we expect to go to trial this time (last time, the Government conceded to our challenge before trial). 

The Stop the A38 Expansion campaign now has a Facebook page and Instagram profile as well as a Facebook group.

Please follow us to keep updated and support the campaign. 

Update 8

Stop the A38 Expansion Group

Sept. 22, 2023

The Government responded to our legal challenge…

Thank you so much for all the support for our second legal challenge. In this update we have news on our legal challenge and Rishi Sunak’s climate u-turns may have implications to strengthen our case.

Preparing for court

So we sent our pre-action protocol letter with the new legal challenge grounds on the 4th September. The Government responded today and we are now consulting with our legal team to prepare to file court papers and apply to the court to take this to trial.

The Government and National Highways both responded to deny all our legal challenge grounds and basically say the Secretary of State (SoS) for Transport’s decision is fine (even though the last SoS made an unlawful decision to approve the A38 expansion). 

They also disagreed with the last legal challenge (which later the Government conceded to) and consistently dismissed concerns about carbon emissions, biodiversity, air quality and climate raised during the examination process. 

Ultimately it will be for a judge at the High Court to decide but we know approving this road scheme was the wrong decision and the negative impacts to local residents, nature and climate outweigh any benefits (profits) to developers who want the A38 to have additional road capacity to open up the surrounding areas to a minimum of 11,000 developments. 

To bring our legal challenge, we need your help. Please keep sharing the legal challenge and spreading the word. Any donation, whether big or small, will help us fight for a liveable planet and hold our Government to account over their destruction of the environment.

UK government’s climate U-turns put legally binding targets in jeopardy

This week Rishi Sunak announced u-turns on key net zero pledges and scrapping of policies that were never proposed (seven bins and meat tax!? ). In the last few months this Government has licensed hundreds of new oil and gas projects, pushed through destructive road schemes, climate wrecking coal mines, polluting airport expansions and are now trying to roll back net zero pledges for the benefit of the fossil fuel industry and landlords who don’t want to insulate rental properties. 

Some of our second legal challenge grounds are based on how the Government is not on track to meet legally binding carbon budget targets. 

The Government are trying to argue that the carbon emissions from the A38 expansion won't matter and they will meet the targets...but without providing any evidence to show how and where these emission reductions will be made and while ignoring the overwhelming evidence that the UK is not on track to meet these targets. 

Analysis by carbon brief shows the aggregated emissions savings from policies which are now at risk as a result of Sunak’s climate policy rollbacks. 

"The rollbacks include delays to bans on the sale of new fossil-fueled cars and boilers, both key planks of the government’s strategy for reaching its climate targets.

These rollbacks would create an increasingly large gap between where the UK’s emissions are heading and where they are supposed to go, Carbon Brief analysis shows.

As such, the UK’s legally binding emissions targets, as well as its international pledge under the Paris Agreement, could be put out of reach."

The Good Law project is already challenging these rollbacks in addition to their second net zero legal challenge. 

Global temperatures have risen by 1.2C. We have had the warmest northern hemisphere summer ever recorded. Antarctic sea ice has not expanded during the winter months. Extreme weather events have occurred all around the world including heatwaves, wildfires, storms and floods. In the UK we had seven consecutive days with temperatures over 30C. All of these are set to get worse as El Niño intensifies this winter. In the face of all the scientific evidence and the human suffering caused by climate breakdown, Sunak is weakening his government’s key climate commitments and bulldozing through climate and nature wrecking developments. 

This rolling back on emissions cuts will undermine the transition to net zero and with it the future opportunities, prosperity and safety of the entire country.

If the Government won’t do the right thing to protect humanity from climate breakdown, we will have to try and use the law to force them to. Please help us by continuing to support our legal challenge. 

If you live near Derby…

Come along to a public discussion on "How can Derby City Council tackle the climate crisis?" There will be a section on the A38 expansion. 

Tue, Oct 3 • 19:00 at St Peter's Churchyard St Peter's Street, Derby, DE1 1NN

Register here: 

Many thanks for your continued support,

The Stop the A38 Expansion Campaign group 

Update 7

Stop the A38 Expansion Group

Sept. 6, 2023

Five reasons the A38 expansion is unlawful

We have been busy preparing for another legal challenge to stop this polluting, destructive and unnecessary road scheme. Our lawyers sent the pre-action protocol letter outlining five grounds for a legal challenge which the Secretary of State has 12 days to respond to. 

Although there are many negative impacts from the A38 Derby Junctions scheme and how it was rushed through a second time, these are the grounds the lawyers identified for judicial review:

  • Ground 1: Unlawful approach to the Environmental Targets (Fine Particulate Matter) (England) Regulations 2023

  • Ground 2: Failure to provide an up-to-date, reasoned conclusion regarding impact on Carbon budgets and the Paris Agreement

  • Ground 3: Failure to provide an up-to-date, reasoned conclusion regarding significant environmental effects

  • Ground 4: Unlawful failure to assess cumulative effects

  • Ground 5: Unlawful approach to economic assessment

There may be another ground on human rights. If you have been impacted by a compulsory purchase order from this scheme, please email [email protected]

We expect the Government to remain determined to destroy the environment to enable their party donors and lobbyist friends in business to profit from a “minimum of 11,000 developments” from the extra road capacity. Recently the Government scrapped water quality regulations to allow developers to build on more profitable sites. Just another example of how little respect ministers have for our natural world and how corrupt the Government is when it comes to the business interests of a wealthy minority.  

We’re not opposed to house building but they should be affordable, in the right places and minimise environmental impacts.

So the next stage is to file court papers and prepare for trial. For this we need to raise another £12,000 by the 1st October.  Thank you so much to everyone who has shared and donated to the legal challenge fundraiser so far.

Please continue to share and donate if you can. Share this short film about the A38 expansion with a link to the legal challenge fundraiser: 

Contact your political representatives 

Breadsall Parish Council recently sent us a letter of support, expressing that they also oppose the A38 Derby Junctions scheme. This is great news and we hope that Derby City Council will also oppose the scheme, especially as the Conservative cabinet has now been replaced with a Labour one. 

If you’re a Derby resident, you can help. Several councillors already agree with us but we need to increase that number if the Council will officially oppose the A38 scheme. Although the Council can’t stop it, their opposition would weigh against it and we need the Council to implement more sustainable transport options to reduce congestion and require housing developers to build in places closer to amenities with better transport links so developments don’t increase road congestion. 

1: Find and contact your councillors:

Tell them your concerns about the A38 expansion, that you support the 2nd legal challenge and your reasons for supporting the campaign to stop it. If they support our campaign ask them if they will talk with other Councillors about it too.

Please write it in your own words for more impact but here are some talking points.

  • Destruction of thousands of mature trees and wildlife habitats;

  • Loss of public space, especially in Markeaton and Mackworth park. 

  • massive carbon emissions during several years of construction and from the resulting increased traffic (it will not reduce carbon emissions by speeding up traffic flow as many claim. The National Highways planning documents state an increase and the DCO decision letter admits it will increase emissions.) 

  • Health impacts in the city due to increased pollution, especially during construction;

  • Significant traffic disruption within much of the city during several years of construction and no proper traffic mitigation plans;

  • Routes for walking and cycling to and from Markeaton Park made much worse during construction and after completion;

  • Those who want this scheme argue that it will improve journey times and improve the flow of traffic, but this will not last long with the minimum of 11,000 new developments around the A38 Derby junctions area. The Secretary of State’s Decision Letter on the A38 stated this number. Induced traffic is a well documented result of building and expanding new roads.

  • Increased traffic will add to the already-congested M1/A38 junction (M1’s junction 28)

  • Severe impacts on moving around the area by any method for nearby residents, during, and after, construction, and noise pollution too;

  • There is no need for this at all as the A50 provides an adequate link north/south, further away from the city.

Our legal challenge page has information about the scheme with links to references: 

2: Ask a question at a full Council meeting.

The next full Council meeting is on Wed 20 Sept. Submit up to 2 questions by noon on Tues 12 Sept to [email protected] 

If you attend the meeting, you can then also ask a verbal supplementary question to be answered verbally at the meeting.

It would be amazing to have a significant number of people asking a question about what the Council’s response will be to this second attempt by National Highways to destroy a large part of Derby’s environment! 

The questions, if regarded as too similar, may be handled with one written answer but all those asking questions get the opportunity to have their say verbally, as long as it can be worded as an additional question, and the more people who ask these questions the less they can be ignored! 

3: Contact the parliamentary candidates for Derby North and Derby South – for Labour that is Catherine Atkinson for Derby North. (Baggy Shanker is Labour’s candidate for Derby South but also a councillor for Sinfin and the Leader of the Council).

If you live in another Council borough impacted by the A38 expansion, please contact your councillors too. Most of the Stop the A38 campaign group are Derby residents but we are keen to talk with and collaborate with people in other areas impacted. 

Please contact [email protected] if you find any political representatives who also want to stop the A38 expansion. 

Many thanks for your support,

The Stop the A38 Expansion Campaign group 

Update 6

Stop the A38 Expansion Group

Aug. 29, 2023

Update on the Second A38 Legal Challenge

After the approval of the A38 Derby Junctions road expansion on the 18th August, we're preparing to challenge it again to halt this harmful and unnecessary project.

Thanks to everyone who's donated to the legal challenge fundraiser. We raised an additional £2,865 last week! We need to raise another £4,500 in the next week to cover the pre-action protocol (PAP) letter our lawyers will send to the Department of Transport to initiate the legal challenge.

  • Do you want to help save thousands of trees including centuries old oaks and an irreplaceable Local Wildlife Site?

  • Do you want to prevent the West of Derby being opened up to a minimum of 11,000 developments on greenfield sites for the profit of developers?

  • Do you want to keep hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon out of our heating planet’s atmosphere?

Please help by:

  1. Donating any amount to our legal challenge 

  2. Sharing our fundraiser on social media 

  3. Sending a personal message or email to 3 people you know who could potentially donate 

Legal Update:

Reviewing the Secretary of State's Decision Letter, we've identified grounds to challenge the road scheme's reapproval. Our lawyers are drafting the challenge and we will keep supporters informed as the legal challenge progresses.

The Secretary of State of Transport has given far too much weight to the claimed economic benefits of the scheme while downplaying the negative impacts climate, biodiversity, air quality, property, land, and traffic congestion during the 4-year construction.

Some initial observations from the Decision Letter:

  • Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and others raised concerns about the lack of use of a Biodiversity Metric Assessment by National Highways but these were dismissed by the Secretary of State, allowing trashing of the environment with no proper mitigation plan.

  • A38 Kingsway Roundabout Local Wildlife Site's destruction, with unresolved mitigation issues. 

  • Admission of likely air quality worsening during construction, ignoring World Health Organization recommendations due to outdated UK air pollution laws.

  • Prior successful challenge on carbon emissions' cumulative impact; National Highways downplays UK's carbon budget.

  • Secretary of State's unjustified confidence in carbon emission reduction, despite evidence of UK's failure by the Committee on Climate Change.

  • Ignoring Committee on Climate Change's advice to pause road building plans; favouring developer interests.

We know this scheme is being pushed through to benefit developers and other lobbyists and donors of the Government. The Secretary of State’s decision letter explicitly mentions the A38 expansion releasing land for a minimum of 11,000 developments. Just days after the scheme was given the green light, developers already swooped in; “600 Mickleover homes begrudgingly re-approved after council error. More homes can be built in Derby ahead of the planned A38 works.”

This is yet another example of the Government using public money to prioritise the interests of their friends in big business over ordinary people and the environment. 

This isn’t just about protecting the environment in the Derby area, if we win this legal challenge again, it could help stop other nature and climate wrecking developments. 

We’re a group of local people volunteering time to this campaign to fight against the money and power of National Highways, central Government and their corporate lobbyist backers. Please help us however you can in this David vs Goliath battle. 

Many thanks,

The Stop the A38 Campaign Group

Update 5

Stop the A38 Expansion Group

Aug. 18, 2023

Another Legal Challenge to Stop the Polluting and Destructive A38 Expansion

The A38 expansion was granted another development consent order (DCO) by the Secretary of State for Transport. This means National Highways is allowed to begin construction work but they haven’t published a timetable yet. However we will be launching another legal challenge to stop this pointless, destructive and polluting waste of public money. We have already contacted the lawyers who are reviewing the DCO. In 2021 local residents proved this scheme was unlawful and stopped it with a legal challenge and we will keep fighting.

This road scheme will still increase carbon emissions (131,000 tons from construction then more from increased traffic), increase traffic and destroy thousands of trees including centuries old ones in Markeaton park and a veteran oak  while causing traffic chaos and more air pollution for the estimated four years of construction with traffic likely diverting through Derby City Centre. 

The scheme will not solve congestion as the main reason for this road scheme is to allow developers to build thousands of unaffordable, isolated new build developments on greenfield sites which will increase traffic. Even the scheme’s planning documents include carbon emission increases from traffic growth. This is yet another example of the Government using public money to prioritise the interests of their friends in big business over ordinary people and the environment. Property tycoons were responsible for 20% of all Conservative party donations in 2021. 

The A38 expansion is not the right solution to alleviate congestion as it will encourage more vehicles by increasing road capacity and opening up nearby areas for more traffic inducing developments. The congestion is only occasionally at peak travel times or when there is an incident. To address congestion there needs to be more investment in public transport, active travel, community EV hire and other sustainable transport initiatives. Other cities have tackled congestion in sustainable ways without needing to expand roads, so why can’t Derby? The estimated £250 million of public money earmarked for the A38 expansion could be invested into repairing existing roads and cleaner transport options that would actually reduce congestion while protecting our environment but instead it is being wasted on a scheme that will cause years of traffic chaos and facilitate more traffic while destroying our environment. 

Previously the Court ruled that the Secretary of State had failed to properly consider the cumulative effects of carbon emissions when granting the DCO.6 Last year the Government was ordered to revise their Net Zero strategy by the High Court as it failed to explain how its policies will comply with environmental law around carbon emissions which are the main cause of the climate crisis. The Government is now being challenged again as it has still failed to outline a legally compliant Net Zero strategy and carbon budget plan. The A38 is yet another example of the Government approving schemes without proper consideration for the climate crisis and legally binding carbon budgets to address the crisis.

This decision to grant a DCO to the A38 comes despite the Government’s own Committee on Climate Change(CCC) recently advising to halt all road building schemes. The CCC also criticised the Government on Net Zero progress, and said the Government’s 2030 goals for cutting emissions are further away than they were a year ago.

This year there has been even more devastating wildfires such as those in Hawaii, droughts and crop failure, dangerous heat waves, floods and record breaking temperatures and sea ice loss due to the climate crisis with scientists ringing the alarm bells louder than ever. This Government has demonstrated time and time again, their top priority is making themselves, their party donors, the companies they have shares in and the businesses who lobby them richer while everyone else gets poorer. The Government’s decision to actively make the climate crisis worse by approving schemes that pointlessly increase carbon emissions is risking billions of lives (Current climate policies will leave more than a fifth of humanity exposed to deadly hot temperatures by 2100) and we will not stand by and allow their harmful, greedy, self-interested and deadly decisions to go unchallenged. 

Support our legal challenge by donating if you can or sharing it. Thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign over the years.

Update 4

Stop the A38 Expansion Group

July 12, 2023

3 Important Developments on UK Road Building Plans


There’s still no news on the A38 scheme (Read this blog for the status last update). However the A38 expansion in Derby is just one of many destructive, expensive and polluting road schemes planned by National Highways and the Government's Department for Transport under “Road Investment Strategy 3” or “RIS3”.

If we stop RIS3, then it will stop the A38 expansion for good and authorities will have to invest in public transport instead of more polluted, congested, ever expanding roads.

The Government’s own Climate Change Committee (CCC) has strongly recommended a Welsh-style roads review for England. Its 2023 annual progress report to parliament was pretty damning, but especially so on transport. It tore into the lie that we can decarbonise fast enough using technology and electric vehicles (EVs) alone, stating: “There is already a clear case for demand-side policies to reduce emissions. These should be implemented now, as a core part of the decarbonisation strategy, especially on …reducing air and car travel.”

This is about as strong as it gets from the CCC and, as the Government’s own climate advisor, its advice carries great weight. The CCC’s stance on road building and demand management vindicates the work and legal challenge of the Stop the A38 campaign and other sustainable transport campaigners. Read more...

Support the important road legal challenge going to court of appeal 

Mrs Justice Thornton has dismissed Dr Andrew Boswell’s challenge against three road schemes, part of a larger proposed programme, on the A47 in Norfolk in a judgement handed down at the High Court recently. Dr Boswell challenged each planning approval decision on the basis that respective Secretaries of State had not properly considered the cumulative impact of the carbon emissions across all related roads schemes and developments when making their decisions.

Dr Boswell’s lawyers are commencing immediate legal proceedings to appeal the judgement. Critically, the Court was given clear evidence that no lawful cumulative assessment had been produced for the carbon emissions which would be generated by the schemes together. Evidence was also provided that no lawful assessment of the impact of the cumulative emissions on meeting the UK carbon budgets existed. In the light of this, Dr Boswell does not agree the legal interpretation by the Court and will mount a robust legal case for the Court of Appeal that the Judge made legal errors in reaching her decision.

Dr Boswell said “This case is extremely important as it addresses issues of pressing public importance including how the environmental impacts of new infrastructure are assessed and whether the UK can deliver its climate targets. I am going to the Court of Appeal to safeguard the clear and wide-ranging legal protections which do exist in UK law. The relentless drive from Government and developers, in cases such as these schemes, to turn a blind eye to the true environmental impacts of the scheme in order to avoid facing up to the true climate impacts of their decisions is astonishing. It is remarkable that the Government has fought tooth and nail merely to avoid having to face up to the cumulative climate impacts of one part of their road-building programme. 

“Over 1500 people who given me fundraising support recognise that it is vital to uphold such protections, and put a stop to this deregulation by stealth, and I am very grateful to them for their backing. 

“The case is of wide importance as the same methodology which systematically ignores cumulative emissions is used to assess nearly all road schemes in the UK. And as each road scheme is only assessed on its own individual impact, it is approved on the false conclusion that there is no combined material impact, from the many new roads being planned, to the delivery of the UK Net Zero targets. 

“Yet just last week, the risks to delivery of the Net Zero targets from the combined effects of ever-expanding traffic were set out in stark terms by the Government’s own official Climate advisors (the Climate Change Committee) when they advised the Government to conduct a systematic review of current and future road-building projects against delivering climate targets. Each new scheme in the Government’s endless pursuit of new roads amounts to taking a significant and dangerous backward step in the transition to a low carbon world. Instead, the Government should be moving forward to implement genuine transport decarbonisation policies. 

“Today, the Net Zero Strategy itself has also been taken back in Court because the Government has not demonstrated that it can deliver, or has risk assessed delivery of, the relevant carbon budgets. This also highlights how crucial it is for the impacts of carbon emissions from every new piece of infrastructure, including roads, to be lawfully assessed where they currently are not.

“The climate emergency is very urgent: we cannot afford unnecessary emissions. This last month has seen temperature records are being broken around the globe, with scientists expressing concern at extremely concerning trends. Today the United Nations has said climate change ‘out of control’ after likely hottest week on record. The climate stakes are high for us, our children and grandchildren. I embarked upon this legal action for future generations, and I am humbled to now be taking it to the Court of Appeal.”


Respond to the RIS3 consultation by 13 July and tell them to freeze and review all road building plans as advised by Government own climate advisors 

The Government is obsessed with building ever bigger roads. Now it is consulting on its next road investment strategy (RIS3) for 2025 - 2030. Despite all the extra miles of tarmac costing many billions of pounds, the DfT’s own figures show congestion is predicted to get much worse, harming the economy. This will also make its targets to cut carbon, air pollution, and protect nature impossible to meet. It is utter madness!

However, priorities are not yet fixed and there is still an opportunity to get the Government to change direction, especially with the Climate Change Committee calling for a roads review. So we urgently need your help to respond to the consultation and call for a roads reset.

Edmund King, President of the AA, said recently that “Most people accept that we largely have the roads we need to get from A to B”. Meanwhile many of these roads are ageing and need considerable investment to renew worn out surfaces, bridges, safety barriers, etc. The danger is this investment will be diverted to pay for masses of new road schemes.

But there is an even bigger challenge. With the Government admitting we’re way off track to meet our 2030 climate target, we need to radically shift the way we travel. Funding for roads needs to be moved into sustainable travel. What remains in RIS3 should be focused on increasing public transport, active travel, safety and maintenance. RIS3 needs to do things very differently: in response to the climate and ecological emergency, all road expansions should be paused, as Wales has done.

Please write to the Department for Transport (DfT) today to express your concerns and call for investment in solutions that will make things better, not worse.

Many thanks for your support,

The Stop the A38 Expansion group 

Update 3

Stop the A38 Expansion Group

April 8, 2022

What an incredible fundraising fortnight!

Following the recent push for donations to cover further legal costs, we’ve managed to successfully reach our stretch target of £7,500 in the past couple of weeks!

We may need further rounds of fundraising but we greatly appreciate your support to enable us to keep on fighting to stop the A38 road expansion. 

On behalf of the campaign team, thank you for your donations 💚

Update 2

Stop the A38 Expansion Group

March 28, 2022

National Highways is ignoring Net Zero targets - help us hire more legal experts

It seems that National Highways (formerly Highways England) think the UK’s Net Zero laws and carbon targets do not apply to them, and they are pressing ahead with their plans to expand the A38 in Derby despite the scheme emitting hundreds of thousands of tons of greenhouse gases. 

We urgently need to raise more funds to hire legal experts to stop this environmentally damaging and polluting road scheme for good!

Please help by donating to and / or sharing this link to our new Crowd Justice fundraiser: 

Thank you so much for your support so far for our campaign to stop the A38 expansion. Because of your help, we were able to successfully halt the A38 expansion with a legal challenge last year, and the development consent order (DCO) was quashed by the Courts and continue to challenge National Highways attempts to push this scheme through. 

The latest IPCC report stated that any further delay in global action to cut carbon pollution “will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.” 

Yet National Highways are trying to claim that Net Zero carbon targets do not apply to their polluting and destructive road building. They believe they are above the law and are trying to cheat the laws of physics. Their disregard for carbon emissions, pollution and the destruction of nature that their roads cause shows that they just do not care. They are sacrificing our children's futures for more tarmac and traffic. 

Road traffic miles must be reduced to meet climate targets (electric vehicles won't be enough) so the UK Government should be heavily investing in public transport and active travel. Yet instead they are wasting billions on new roads and road expansions which will increase traffic and carbon pollution. 

Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, has asked for information from both National Highways and "interested parties" (such as our campaign group) to submit evidence so that he can consider granting another development consent order to allow the A38 expansion to go ahead. 

We submitted representations in October 2021 and we are currently challenging the Secretary of State's decision-making process via the planning inspectorate website. 

We continue to argue that we are in a climate and ecological emergency and that wasting £250 million on widening a road that will fell thousands of trees, remove large amounts of precious wildlife habitat and increase traffic makes absolutely no sense and is unlawful. It’s also an insulting waste of public money during a cost of living crisis!

The carbon costs of the scheme have increased, which requires the benefit/cost ratio to be revaluated. Yet National Highways have failed to do this.  They've also failed to properly explain how they have assessed the cumulative carbon impacts of the scheme – these were the grounds they conceded on in our original legal challenge in 2021.

With the net zero strategy's carbon targets we have a strong argument to stop the A38 expansion. We can win. However, we need to hire legal experts again to help us form and present these arguments. We need to raise £7,500 (we have already raised over £5,000).

Please help by donating to and / or sharing this link:

Many other groups campaigning against road schemes and harmful development plans are watching the A38 Derby Junctions road scheme closely. Our legal challenge has already inspired other climate-related legal challenges and is forcing developers to properly consider climate impacts and the law. If we are successful, we could prevent even more carbon pollution and nature destruction and force the Government to take climate action seriously. 

Please donate if you can. Your donation, no matter how small, will help us put a stop to the destructive A38 expansion for good. If you can’t donate, please consider sharing the link with your friends, family and on your social media. 


We are so grateful for your support.


Thank you.

Update 1

Stop the A38 Expansion Group

Nov. 3, 2021

Representations submitted

Thank you so much to everyone who helped us reach our initial target of £3,500! 

This CrowdJustice fundraiser was set up to hire legal experts to submit representations as Transport Minister Grant Shapps said he will redetermine the A38 scheme application after seeking further information from National Highways and objectors. 

We are still fundraising in case there are further rounds of consultation and we need the support of legal experts again. So please keep sharing the CrowdJustice page:  

Our representations were submitted on 26 October 2021. They are now on the Planning Inspectorate website under the name “Derby Climate Coalition”* if you wish to read them. 

The support to save the thousands of trees, the wildlife habitats, green spaces and decent houses from the A38 expansion has been incredible. 

Thank you so much for being part of that!

It’s clear that a huge amount of people want a safe, habitable planet and not more tarmac, carbon emissions and air pollution. 

If the Government is as committed to climate action as they are saying at COP26, then they must stop outdated, expensive, destructive and polluting road schemes like the A38 expansion and cancel their £27.4bn (now £24bn since the latest spending review) RIS2 roads programme. 

 * In 2019 Derby Climate Coalition made representations during hearings about the A38 scheme. The Stop the A38 Expansion campaign was later set up by some members of Derby Climate Coalition.


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