Firm confronts Minister on traffic

HIGH-profile legal aid firm Bindman & Partners has written to the Government threatening legal action to force publication of a controversial report on its road building policy.

Partner Stephen Grosz says that under the Environmental Information Regulations 1992, Transport Secretary Dr Brian Mawhinney is under an obligation to publish the report.

Grosz says: “The duty stems from a European directive on freedom of access to information regarding the environment. When our government adopted this, they removed the words “freedom” and “access” from the legislation in the hope of producing something so boring that no-one would use it.”

In a letter to Mawhinney on behalf of Alarm UK, an alliance of groups opposing road schemes in Britain, Grosz argues that a report by the Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment undermines current methods of assessing traffic growth.

This denies inspectors and witnesses at public inquiries access to information vital to evaluating particular road schemes.

The firm is in regular contact with several anti-road groups and acted for People Against the River Crossing in its successful battle against the Government's scheme for a new road through Oxleas Wood in London.