High court dismisses appeals against East West Link project

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 12, 2021

The New Zealand Transport Agency has welcomed a decision by the High Court in Auckland to dismiss two appeals against the route designations and resource consents for the East West Link transport project.

In June 2020, the High Court heard appeals by Forest and Bird and Ngati Whatua Orakei against the designations and consents, that were confirmed by an independent Board of Inquiry (BOI) in January 2018. New Zealand Transport Agency heard on Friday that both appeals were dismissed. 

“This is a great outcome for Waka Kotahi, the project and the BOI process,” says New Zealand Transport Agency general manager transport aervices, Brett Gliddon.

The consented project includes a four-lane road between the Neilson Street interchange at SH20 and the Mt Wellington interchange on SH1, connections to local roads in Onehunga and Penrose, cycleways and work on the foreshore, headlands and wetlands.   

In its judgement, the High Court confirmed the BOI carefully examined the Auckland Unitary Plan and properly balanced the environmental impact of the East West Link Project against the infrastructure need.  

The BOI found the EWL Project did have significant environmental effects, but on balance the EWL Project was consistent with the Auckland Unitary Plan. 

The EWL project is being reviewed to evaluate whether it aligns with the new priorities and strategic direction set out by the Government Policy Statement on land transport. 

The complexity of the EWL project and interrelationship with other regional and local works means the re-evaluation needs to be carefully managed to provide an outcome that considers all the strategic goals for the area. That work is still progressing.  

The existing designation granted in January 2018 will remain in place until the re-evaluation outcomes and next steps are confirmed.     

Once the outcomes are confirmed, the New Zealand Transport Agency will review the need to retain all or parts of the current designation and the scope of the consents granted. It will then consider whether they can be used (in full or in part). Potentially new consents, or variations to the existing consents, may be required.  

It is important to note that the transport challenges for the area remain and the re-evaluation aims to prioritise and address these challenges, working in collaboration with our project partners.  

Once there is a clearer path for the project, New Zealand Transport Agency will work with key project stakeholders and the community to agree next steps for the project.