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Roads to Nowhere

Our advice to ministers: don't spend on roads, invest in public transport instead

Sian Berry's picture

14 October: The comments period for the Development Pool of transport projects has just closed, and our advice to ministers is to focus on public transport, not roads.

Derrick Coffee from Hastings Alliance at the DfT Local campaigners like Derrick Coffee from the Hastings Alliance - seen in the picture handing in hundreds of postcards against a proposed bypass between Bexhill and Hastings to the Department for Transport this afternoon - have been sending in their detailed criticisms of the four roads with the most opposition:


In our submission to the Department for Transport, we included reports on each of these projects, where we have been supporting and working with local campaigners to make the case that bypasses through the countryside don't help transport problems, the environment or the economy.


We'll have more on the problems our experts have uncovered with these local council proposals soon.

But where should minsters spend the money instead? In our letter to the DfT (which you can download from the bottom of this post) Campaign for Better Transport's Chief Executive, Stephen Joseph, says that the evidence shows priority should be given to public transport projects in and around cities, and you can read more on why city-based public transport is important on the Transport Works website.

So, with this in mind, we have recommended that these projects should be among those that are given a high priority for funding:


  • Leeds New Generation Transit
  • Leeds Rail Growth Package
  • Manchester Cross City Bus
  • Supertram Additional Vehicles
  • Rochdale Interchange
  • Pennine Reach (East Lancs Rapid Transit)
  • South Yorkshire Bus Rapid Transit Northern Route
  • Croxley Interchange
  • Coventry Nuneaton Rail Upgrade

Find out more about these proposals on our interactive map.


In the letter, Stephen says:

"A focus on public transport projects will also create a larger number of UK jobs in terms of vehicles and infrastructure... and the new services provided will continue to support jobs across the country after the project construction phase has ended.

"The ability of new roads to stimulate the economy at any point is questionable, and the benefits to the local economy are far lower than for public transport. In addition, they will not deal in the most effective or cost-effective way with congestion, and will harm the local environment too."

Ministers will be making decisions by the end of this year and we'll be keeping the pressure up and working with local campaigners right up to that day. Watch this space!