A start date for when spades will go back in the ground to dual the A47 remains uncertain despite an eco-campaigner failing in his legal bid against it.

Dr Andrew Boswell's campaign against the road project has come to an end after the highest court in the land - the Supreme Court - rejected his appeal bid.

It means the former Green councillor has no other legal avenues available. 

Watton & Swaffham Times: Stalled work on the A47 at North BurlinghamStalled work on the A47 at North Burlingham (Image: Mike Page)

However, National Highways could not confirm when work will restart.

The agency said it is currently deciding its next steps and that it is unable to provide details about the timeline for completion.

It is thought the delays have added tens of millions of pounds to the bill for the work which will dual sections of the A47 between North Tuddenham and Easton and from Blofield to North Burlingham.

It is not clear if the calling of the General Election could affect the project.

Watton & Swaffham Times: Thickthorn roundaboutThickthorn roundabout (Image: Mike Page)


Kay Mason-Billig, leader of the Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council, called the legal battle a "fool's errand" and worries about the implications of Mr Boswell's delay tactics.

She said: "My worry is that Dr Boswell’s reasons for his actions were not based in his concern for the carbon impact of these schemes, but merely as a delaying tactic to push up the costs so that they ultimately could not be afforded.

"The delays he caused were a total waste of taxpayers' money."

Watton & Swaffham Times: Kay Mason-Billig, leader of the Conservative-controlled Norfolk County CouncilKay Mason-Billig, leader of the Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council (Image: Norfolk County Council)

George Freeman, Conservative MP for Mid Norfolk, is demanding construction work resumes.

He said: "While Mr Boswell has played legal games, paid for by eco-extremists in London, the poor people, businesses and council taxpayers of Norfolk pay the price for his self-promotion. 

"Enough is enough. Let’s get it done. Now.”

Watton & Swaffham Times: George Freeman, Conservative MP for Mid NorfolkGeorge Freeman, Conservative MP for Mid Norfolk (Image: George Freeman)

The £300m schemes were originally announced in 2014 but it took until 2022 for consent to be given for work to start.

However, several legal challenges by Dr Andrew Boswell, paid for through crowdfunding, have stalled work which has meant costs for the project have increased significantly.

Watton & Swaffham Times: Dr Andrew BoswellDr Andrew Boswell (Image: Andrew Boswell)


Dr Boswell, a former Green councillor, insists that his legal fight was necessary to protect "our children and grandchildren who will have to live with a rapidly destabilising climate."

Speaking after the decision, he added: "Bad decisions today mean dire consequences tomorrow." 

Jamie Osborn, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Norwich South, believes the accumulative impact of road-building plans in Norfolk has not been adequately addressed.

He said: "The government has also failed to fully account for the carbon pollution that would come from their road-building plans in Norfolk."

Watton & Swaffham Times: Jamie Osborn, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Norwich SouthJamie Osborn, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Norwich South (Image: Archant)


The A47 projects involve the dualling of just over 1.6 miles of the road between Blofield and North Burlingham - considered a crash blackspot by police - along with five-and-a-half miles between Easton and North Tuddenham.

Watton & Swaffham Times: A47 dualling Blofield to North BurlinghamA47 dualling Blofield to North Burlingham (Image: Mike Page)

Plans for Thickthorn include a new slip road off the A11 northbound, which will take motorists beneath both roads before re-joining traffic on the A47 heading towards Great Yarmouth - eliminating the need to use the roundabout.

It is hoped the work will improve safety, reduce congestion and create an economic boost for the region.

The dualling of the A47 is not the only road scheme to have been marred by controversy in recent years.

It remains uncertain if the £274m Western Link road will ever go ahead after new guidance from Natural England around safeguarding barbastelle bats cast major doubt over the project.