UPDATE: August 7th, 2019

As climate crisis grows, are key environmental groups being shut out of expressway talks?

Non-Disclosure Agreements


In the No Expressway Group meeting with Highways England (HE) on 30th July, NEG asked about Highways England’s use of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), as reported on the BBC News website and on BBC South Today.

Highways England’s Project Director for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway Project, Matt Stafford, talked openly about NDAs, in stark contrast to Highways England’s refusal to even confirm their existence in response to NEG’s Freedom of Information request.  He confirmed that for local authorities, HE requested these were signed so they could talk about potential routes and if these were "viable and buildable".

Highways England asks Local Authorities to sign NDAs to be "responsible" about potential impact on land values and to enable local authorities time to capture uplift in land values

But why, when HE has been talking about lots of different potential routes, didn’t it ask environmental experts such as RSPB and BBOWT to sign NDA’s and talk in confidence?  


Matt Stafford said that the submissions already provided by BBOWT/RSPB provided enough information last year, therefore in HE’s judgement no follow up was required.


The RSPB told NEG that it has had no contact from HE since it made its initial submission regarding preference of corridor in April 2018.  The RSPB stated in it’s submission that Corridor B was the most environmentally damaging corridor.  Highways England selected Corridor B as its “preferred corridor”. How much notice is HE taking of environmental experts?

So, what about new information along this corridor or discussions around wildlife corridors and living landscapes?  Any route could impact on or go through and have a massive impact on key environmental corridors or living landscapes.

Can HE make that assessment on their own?  Why not contact the experts?

Priorities for the Environment

Highways England stated that all sites of environmental importance (such as SSSIs and those identified for future protection) had been taken into consideration in the Ox-Cam Expressway project. However, HE said that its priorities for these areas are 1) Avoid 2) Mitigate 3) Compensate.

Hence any environmentally significant site could be included in a possible route.

See this article for how BBOWT are currently battling over mitigation steps on HS2!

Given the government announced a climate emergency, shouldn’t the Department for Transport and those working for them, such as Highways England, follow through on making this a higher priority in everything they do?


Make sure you are first to hear any news on route options and consultation by emailing OxfordToCambridgeExpressway@highwaysengland.co.uk to register as a stakeholder.

Sign up & follow us - sign up to our email updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @no_expressway

Make your voice is heard, find out how.

We urgently need your help.

Your donations are needed now, to help us run the campaign and pay for political consultants and other professional experts to bring this campaign to the attention of Westminster as well as local politicians.

No Expressway Group believes there is no need for an Oxford-Cambridge Expressway, nor the over-inflated housing targets associated with it, and we will actively campaign against it and support other organisations with the same objectives. 

Our environment is a national asset which is critical for everyone’s health and well-being. We must not let it be destroyed.

Your donations help us to spread information about the Expressway, run and build support for the campaign:

  • £10 could pay for one roadside Correx poster

  • £15 could pay for one roadside poster on a wooden stake

  • £20 could pay for one A1 printed colour poster for our pagoda display

  • £35 could pay for 250 A5 printed leaflets for the campaign

  • £70 could pay for one pole and two panels for our travelling pagoda display

  • £150 could pay for one feather flag for our travelling pagoda

  • £180 could pay to run this website for one year

  • £300 could pay for a 3 minutes of an Expressway Story

  • £500 could pay for a 5 minutes of an Expressway Story

  • A greater or other amount could contribute to the cost of professional support for our campaign in general and in preparation for Planning Inspectorate hearings

Please note:

The No Expressway Group has a group bank account to which the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer are signatories. The group will publish accounts on noexpressway.org each year which will be audited by an accountant from outside the NEG group.

If any funds are left at the end of the campaign, these will be donated equally between RSPB and BBOWT.