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Roads to Nowhere

New report finds after ten years the M6 Toll benefits no one

3 December 2013
To mark the tenth anniversary of the opening of the M6 Toll road (9 Dec), Campaign for Better Transport has published The M6 Toll – ten years on. The report concludes that the road has produced no net benefit for drivers whilst causing huge and irreversible environmental damage.

The report contains a complete record of annual traffic data for the road since 2004 and found that:

  • Since a peak in traffic in 2006/7, patronage of the M6 toll has fallen steadily year on year and has never come close to predicted levels of 75,000 vehicles per day
  • In 2012, the average for all the count points was just 29,313 vehicles per day, 24 per cent below number of vehicles on the road in 2007
  • The road has not relieved problems on the parallel M6. Between 2006 and 2012 average daily traffic levels on the un-tolled motorway increased by 1.5% (1,700 more vehicles per day)

Sian Berry, Campaign for Better Transport’s roads and sustainable transport campaigner, said: “Toll roads don’t work and the experience with the M6 Toll proves as much. Despite massive environmental damage and increased noise and air pollution the supposed benefits for drivers haven’t materialised. This road has helped no one, not local people, not drivers and certainly not the company who own it. We’re glad to see the Government has finally paid attention to the disastrous experience of the M6 Toll and abandoned plans to toll the A14 bypass.”

Chris Crean from West Midlands Friends of the Earth said: “The focus then and now has been for inter-urban journeys across the countryside where it is easy to acquire land and lay tarmac. This has failed to address the real problem: traffic and car dependency in our unavoidably space-constrained towns and cities. We have not dealt with this fundamental issue.

“We can and should invest in all the viable alternatives to ensure we all have better quality of life, reduce car dependency and use the planning system to create truly vibrant and sustainable places in which to live. This would have seen enhanced bus, rail and metro investments, as well as encouraging walking and cycling across the west midlands conurbation, not an orbital road.”

The report goes on to recommend a number of alternative options to large road-building projects that demonstrate better value for money, including 'smarter choices' programmes of travel planning and traffic reduction and a wide range of rail, bus and active travel infrastructure projects.


Notes to Editors

1. You can read the full report, The M6 Toll – ten years on, here.

2. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).