The government’s £25bn Roads Programme is facing delays while the DfT reappraises the strategy in the light of the recent Court of Appeal ruling on plans to expand Heathrow.

The review could result in some major road schemes, including plans to expand the Smart Motorway programme, delayed or scrapped altogether.

The five-year Roads Programme, which plans to expand more than 100 major roads, was due to start next month and was expected to be published alongside this week’s budget.

However, according to reports, the DfT is reappraising the document in the light of the Heathrow ruling, which found that former Transport Secretary Chris Grayling should have taken into account the latest commitments on climate change before he granted permission for Heathrow to expand.

Climate activists have already turned their attention to the Roads Programme following the Heathrow ruling.

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They argue that the current value-for-money assessment was done under guidelines last updated in April 2019, when the UK was planning to cut emissions by 80% by 2050.

Since then the target has been raised, committing the UK to cutting almost 100% of emissions by the same date, leaving some road schemes open to legal challenge.

Pressure group, Transport Action Network claims some road schemes in the plan have shown they will increase emissions, while other schemes have not been scoped for potential carbon emissions.

A spokeswoman said: “The whole system desperately needs reviewing. The assessments were done in a pre-climate crisis era. They don't take into account the UK's commitment to Net Zero emissions.”

Asked if the Roads Programme has been delayed, a DfT spokesman told MT that the programme “will be out in due course.”