Councillors representing a village in Kent which is set to be hugely affected by the Lower Thames Crossing have decided not to launch a legal challenge against the government’s decision.
KentNews.co.uk reports that Shorne Parish Council has confirmed it had sought legal opinion from a barrister over the Department for Transport’s announcement last month to build a tunnel under the Thames through much of the Kent countryside, but was told there were “insufficient legal grounds” for a successful challenge against the consultation process, and that a challenge on the decision itself would be “doubtful”.
The report says villagers have been active in the campaign against the proposed crossing, with the Shorne Action Group last year sending 1,500 postcards, depicting the supposed impact of the development, to then-transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
They have argued thousands of responses to last year’s consultation – the largest ever for a UK road project – were “discounted” and accused Highways England of manipulating the figures to meet the government’s agenda.
Highways England said responses were seen to have been “lumped together” because of the 47,034 received in total, 13,284 were identified as being associated with an organised campaign, and were identically worded responses.
The council does say, though, that it may still provide evidence and support for any other challenge which may be mounted, with “a reasonable chance of success in overturning the decision”.
KentNews.co.uk reports that Gravesham Borough Council has set aside £150,000 for a potential judicial review in its budget and is also understood to be seeking legal advice.