£1.2 billion A12 widening project faces legal challenge

A long-awaited plan to widen the A12 in Essex could be delayed ‘for years’ following a legal challenge made to the government. The scheme, which was given planning permission in January this year, involves the widening of the A12 between Chelmsford (junction 19) and the A120 (junction 25) from two to three lanes in each direction, reports Essex Live.

The plan will also see improvements to junction 19 and 25, the removal of junctions 20a, 20b and 23, moving junction 21, 22 and 24 to make them all movement junctions and two new bypasses will be created. The application was first submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for consideration by National Highways on August 15, 2022.

However, National Highways – along with Witham MP Priti Patel – have now confirmed that the government is responding to a legal challenge over the decision to grant a Development Consent Order (DSO) for the project. This potentially means the widening scheme may face “years” of delays, Ms Patel claimed.

Philip Davie, National Highways’ Project Director for the scheme, said: “We stand by our plans and remain confident that our proposals to improve the A12 will increase safety, reduce congestion, and futureproof the road for economic growth in the East of England. We cannot confirm when we can start to deliver these vital improvements until the legal challenge is resolved.”

(Picture – Dreamstime/Jonathan Ritchie)


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