DLA Piper advises Halton Borough Council on Mersey Gateway Project

DLA Piper has advised Halton Borough Council on the £600m Mersey Gateway Project, a major scheme to build a new six-lane toll bridge over the Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes.

The DLA Piper team advised on the procurement of a private sector partner for the design, build, financing, operation and maintenance of the new 1km-long cable-stayed bridge over the River Mersey and tolling of the crossings.

This major project saw the team provide advice on planning, land acquisition, compulsory purchase orders, tolling, legislative frameworks and the implementation of new legislation, as well as providing strategic advice on the procurement process, structural approaches and bespoke documentation for the bridge.

The multi-disciplinary DLA Piper team comprised lawyers from the firm’s finance and projects, intellectual property and technology (IPT), real estate and employment groups across its Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and London offices.

Led by partners Liam Cowell and Howard Bassford, the team has been advising on the project since 2007. It also included projects partner Robert Smith, IPT partner Lee Brierley and planning director Kate Creer.

The needs of a procuring authority in a project of this size saw the team manage a number of challenges including the negotiation and implementation of supplementary secondary legislation, dealing with enforcement action against users and taking into account the intellectual property and data protection considerations in the use of open road tolling technology, working with technical advisers regarding land contamination, advising on bidder and funder requirements and innovation and what mitigation strategies to employ.