£15bn for roads

DfT has announced £15bn of investment to increase the capacity and condition of the country’s roads. The government is investing in over 100 new road schemes over this parliament and next, 84 of which are brand new. More than 1,300 new lane miles will be added by schemes being delivered over the next parliament on motorways and trunk roads. It includes £1.5bn of investment to add an extra lane onto key motorways to turn them into smart motorways, in an effort to boost connectivity between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Yorkshire.
New projects announced include:

• £2bn to dual the entire A303 and A358 to the south west, including a tunnel at Stonehenge.

• £290m to complete the dualling of the A1 all the way from London to Ellingham, 25 miles from the Scottish border.

• Completing the smart motorway along the entire length of the M62 from Manchester to Leeds, together with improvements to transpennine capacity from Manchester to Sheffield.

• Committment to improve links to the Port of Liverpool.

• £350m of improvements to the A27 along the south coast, tackling severe congestion at Arundel, Worthing and Lewes.

• £300m to upgrade the east-west connection to Norfolk, by dualling sections of the A47 and improving its connections to the A1 and A11, building on the recently completed full dualling of the A11 from London to Norwich.

• Improving one-third of the junctions on the M25.

• Enhancing the M42 to the east of Birmingham.

Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said, ‘Roads are key to our nation’s prosperity. For too long they have suffered from under-investment. This government has a long term plan to secure the country’s future and this £15bn roads programme is demonstration of that. Better roads allow us to travel freely, creating jobs and opportunities, benefiting hardworking families across the country.’

However, the scheme was not without its critics. Sustainable Transport Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport, Sian Berry, said, ‘Government’s plans for £30bn worth of big new roads ranks as one of the most counterproductive policy decisions for a generation. Badly flawed feasibility studies which ignored non-road alternatives have been used to justify damaging schemes, including several in our National Parks. Worse, the Government has given notice that its fixation with new tarmac will continue indefinitely with new studies into dualing the A66 and A69, an expressway between Oxford and Cambridge, and new London orbital outside the M25 and even a £6bn road tunnel under the Peak District. This is all happening while better, more sustainable, transport options like cycling and walking are not getting the investment they need, and buses are even seeing their funding being cut all over the country.’

‘The Government’s £15bn road building plan will prove a counterproductive waste of money. There is no evidence that building new roads creates jobs or benefits the economy and plenty of evidence that it creates new traffic that just fills up the roads again. What we really need is investment in public transport, walking and cycling for daily journeys to reduce congestion for other trips that have to be made on the roads. Instead, by laying tonnes of tarmac in areas supposedly protected for their beauty and history the government will end up making people more reliant than ever on cars.’

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