A5 road: Campaign group launch second legal challenge

A5 road sign
Image caption The A5 dual carriageway scheme would link Dublin to the north west of Northern Ireland

A campaign group opposed to the A5 road scheme linking Londonderry and Aughnacloy has launched a second legal challenge to the project.

Work on the Newbuildings to Strabane section of the new dual carriageway was due to go ahead in 2017.

But the Alternative A5 Alliance (AA5A) has lodged an application for leave to apply for judicial review.

The Department for Infrastructure said it will oppose the latest legal challenge to the project.

In 2012, AA5A won their judicial review into the planned new route after the court ruled an environment impact assessment had not been carried out properly.

John Dunbar from AA5A said that previous experience had given the group confidence to pursue a second challenge.

He said the group continued to oppose the project on "economic and environmental grounds".

Mr Dunbar said no one could now "put a figure on how much this (the A5) will cost".

"It just does not make sense," he said.

"The dual carriageway is just not necessary."

The story of the A5 so far:

  • The preferred route for the A5 was announced in 2009
  • An inquiry was ordered in May 2011 into the environmental impact of the scheme
  • The Irish government reduced its funding for the project from £400m to £42m in November 2011
  • A public inquiry into the road was found in favour of the scheme going ahead in July 2012
  • The project stalled again in 2013 due to a ruling by the High Court
  • The Irish government said in 2014 it would review its decision to withdraw funding
  • In November 2015, following the Fresh Start Agreement, the Irish government said it was ready to provide £75m towards the A5

A Public Inquiry into the A5 is scheduled to get underway in early October.

Mr Dunbar said the scope of that inquiry was "much too restrictive".

"There are a number of other issues that we wanted to object to but they haven't been included in the scope of the inquiry."

He said there was no alternative but to launch a legal challenge.

A Department for Infrastructure spokeswoman confirmed the legal application would be opposed.

"In progressing any major road improvement scheme of the scale of the A5 dualling, there is always the possibility of a legal challenge from those who may be dissatisfied with the department's proposals," she said.

The preferred route for the A5 was announced in 2009. When complete it is understood it would lessen journey times by as much as 20 minutes.

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