Our Development Consent Order

Seeking permission to build the scheme

This scheme is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP), which means it’s classed as a large, complex infrastructure project that benefits the entire country.

To build the scheme, we need to gain a special type of planning permission called a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the Planning Inspectorate.

Where are we in the Development Consent Order process?

We are now in the post-decision phase of the development consent order. The Secretary of State for Transport granted the scheme its development consent order (like planning permission) on 18 August 2022.  Following this decision there was a six-week period in which the decision may be challenged in the High Court. 

Unfortunately Transport Action Network (TAN) submitted an application to the high court for permission for a judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision to grant the A428 development consent order.

We had planned to start construction in late 2022 but as TAN submitted an application to the high court and court of appeal we had to delay the start of construction. The court of appeal refused TAN’s application to appeal the refusal of permission for a judicial review. This means that the legal process is now over, and we can start working towards full construction.

Unfortunately, the legal challenge has disrupted our construction timetable and the start of work has been delayed. We are keen to get started as soon as possible, so you will see us continue preparatory works including archaeology, environmental surveys and diverting utilities as we get ready for full construction.

We plan to move into full construction by the end of the year and expect the road to open in 2027.


Visit our news pages to read more about the challenge.


You can read more about the DCO process in this booklet or watch this short video:




Stages of an application for Development Consent

Pre-application stage

This is when we present the scheme to members of the public and stakeholders. We consulted on the scheme in 2019 and summer 2020. This feedback, along with ongoing engagement and design development, has been used to shape the scheme and prepare our DCO application. You can read about some of the changes we made to the scheme following our consultation with you. Or visit our consultations page.

This does not mean that our DCO application is approved, it is when the Planning Inspectorate decides whether we have submitted all the relevant documentation to allow the application to move forward.

This stage allowed anyone to register as an Interested Party. Interested Parties can submit a written representation or present their views at a public hearing. The Planning Inspectorate formally appointed a panel of inspectors to serve as the Examining Authority, and the first meeting will be held to discuss procedural issues and the timetable for examination, called the Preliminary Meeting.

This is a six-month process when the Examining Authority will examine the DCO application against the tests in the National Policy Statement for National Networks.

The Examining Authority will assess feedback from the public and stakeholders through written representations and the hearings. If you have registered as an Interested Party in the pre-examination phase, you can make a representation.

Following the end of the six-month examination stage, the Examining Authority will have three months to write a recommendation report and submit it to the Secretary of State for Transport.

The Secretary of State for Transport then has up to three months to make the final decision on whether to grant our DCO.

If the Secretary of State for Transport grants the DCO, this is the final stage of the process and provides a six-week window for anyone with legal grounds to challenge the Secretary of State for Transport’s decision through judicial review. A judicial review is a type of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body. 

If no challenge is made for a judicial review then scheme construction will start. If an application for a judicial review is made construction cannot begin until the legal proceedings are finalised. 


Visit our Register of Requirements on the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet improvements Development Consent Order. 

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