A HIGH Court decision against the Berks Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) over the planned Expressway may be appealed, the pressure group says.

The ruling means the government can press ahead with its plans without looking at the 'potentially devastating impact' it could have on the environment and wildlife, BBOWT claim.

It adds that it is 'taking advice on appealing' after challenging the government for not conducting a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) before it chose a preferred corridor for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.

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BBOWT's head of policy Matthew Stanton said: "This could spell disaster for the environment. The government is riding roughshod over environmental law.

"The Expressway is a 20th century solution to a 21st century challenge. We do not need more congested roads and air pollution – especially as we face the urgent task of reducing the nation’s carbon footprint."

Solicitor Carol Day, from the firm that represented BBOWT, added that the ruling was a 'disappointment to those who believe that the environmental impact of large infrastructure projects should be assessed at an early stage'.

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The Department for Transport welcomed the ruling for 'endorsing our approach to assessing environmental impacts.'

In a statement, it added: “Protecting the environment and the places people love is central to how the Government plans, develops and builds road infrastructure.

“We will continue to involve local people and organisations in developing the best design for this road, and maintain best practice in our approach to the environment.”