Development Consent Order approved


08 Mar 2024

Plans to upgrade the A66 route between Penrith and Scotch Corner were today (7 March 2024) given the go-ahead by the Secretary of State for Transport.

The A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project, which is a key part of the government’s £24 billion investment into roads, will transform journeys along the A66 in the North of England.

A DfT spokesperson said: “This Government backs drivers which is why we’re investing over £24bn into our roads to reduce congestion, create jobs and grow the economy.

“We also have our long-term Plan for Drivers to slam the brakes on anti-car measures and keep the country moving.”   

Now that the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project Development Consent Order (DCO) has been approved, National Highways can look ahead to the construction phase. Preparatory archaeological works and utilities diversions are currently taking place along the A66.

Once the Development Consent Order (DCO) decision challenge period has concluded in April 2024, the next step will be for Government to review and approve the Full Business Case.

This project – the biggest single investment in the North’s road network in a generation – will help transform the remaining single carriageway sections along the 50-mile stretch of the A66 between Cumbria, County Durham and North Yorkshire, offering a better experience for drivers.  

Stewart Jones, National Highways Project Director for the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project, said:   

“We are delighted to have received approval and to be able to give the people of Cumbria, County Durham and North Yorkshire some positive news.   

“A lot of hard work has gone into getting us to this position. Now we can push on and deliver this project as efficiently as possible.”   

The route carries high levels of freight, with 25% of the traffic being heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), more than twice the national average for a road of this nature. Any delays to journeys can have an extremely negative effect on business, including lost working time and missed shipment slots.

While National Highways aims to reduce congestion and improve journey times, the biggest priority remains the safety of those who use and live near the road.

The improvements will also reduce delays and queues during busy periods and improve the performance of key junctions such as the A66/A1 and the M6 junction 40. This will mean local communities and businesses will benefit from the investment for decades to come.  

Thousands of holidaymakers use the A66 to get to holiday destinations and hundreds of businesses rely on tourism. By making the route more reliable, it will not only improve access to hotspots such as the Lake District, County Durham and the Yorkshire Dales, but will also support the regional and local economy.

Stewart Jones added:

“We will be part of community life for the next few years, so we want to make sure we are giving back. We will be using local companies and employment during our construction work, which will help support the local economy.

“We want to work with local schools, colleges, academies, universities and community groups, encouraging the engineers of the future to consider a career in construction and provide training opportunities.”  

More information about our DCO and the decision can be found on the Planning Inspectorate's website.