Oxford-Cambridge Expressway: Timing of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)
In respect of the Strategic Envrionemental Assessment (SEA), the following response has been received from Highways England by Horton cum Studley PC.
Dear Ms Foxcroft,
Thank you for your email dated 22 May 2018. It has been passed to Highways England from Martin Tugwell from the England’s Economic Heartland Strategic Alliance
A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) at this stage of the corridor selection is premature. This early stage of the process does not give rise to a SEA obligation.
The decision at this time is between corridor options which are simply a decision on which corridor to pursue. This indicates that the SEA would not be considered this early in the process because at this time we are not seeking consent. We are currently appraising the environmental constraints for all corridors which is far more sensible and cost efficient at this time.
We are at a very early stage of development of this project. During the next stage, commencing in Autumn next year, Highways England will conduct a full consultation on a number of route options in order to make a recommendation to the secretary of state of a preferred route.
The earlier stage of this options process does not give rise to a SEA obligation. A decision between options is simply a decision on which option to pursue and cannot attract an SEA obligation for the Expressway alone, as it does not set the framework for future decisions as to whether or not to grant development consent. A choice between options ultimately requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which Highways England expect will be required. Given the scale of investment required across the region, the requirement for a SEA will be considered by government as part of the emerging government strategy.
The Oxford to Cambridge Expressway is in the process of setting up a project specific webpage giving information about the scheme, including a timetable of activities and how to sign up for the alerts to receive the latest updates. This will be live very soon.
We hope this information is helpful. If you have any questions or would like more information on the scheme we would be pleased to hear from you. We can be contacted via OxfordToCambridgeExpressway@highwaysengland.co.uk
Oxford To Cambridge Expressway Team
National Infrastructure Programme
Highways England | Woodlands | Manton Lane | Bedford | MK41 7LW