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Roads to Nowhere

Campaigners respond to announcement of Highways England and new traffic forecasts

12 March 2015

Campaign for Better Transport has responded to the announcement of spending plans for Highways England, which will take over running motorways and major trunk roads from the Highways Agency on 1 April 2015, and the pulication of new long-term Road Traffic Forecasts by the Department for Transport.

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport said

"It's good news that the Government has at last accepted that major traffic growth is simply not happening. But while the new forecasts are a step forward, they still include some very questionable assumptions like the idea that car ownership will continue to climb and the cost of motoring will continue to fall. As a result, the new Highways England is being given cash for new road schemes that will cause significant harm to our National Parks such as the Peak District and South Downs, or to valuable sites like Stonehenge. Alternatives to road building have been ignored, even where there are parallel rail lines.

"Instead, we should be looking how we learn from falling traffic in cities like London which shows what can happen when people are given alternatives to the car."

Notes

Highways England is a new arms-length government company that will take over running motorways and major trunk roads from the Highways Agency on 1 April 2015.

The Government's plans for Highways England are set out in the Road Investment Strategy for the 2015 to 2020, also published on 12 March.  

Also on 12 March 2015, the Department for Transport has published the details from feasibility studies into:

  • A1 north of Newcastle
  • A27
  • A303, A358 and A30
  • Trans-Pennine routes
  • A47 and A12

Road Traffic Forecasts 2015 have been published on 12 March by the Department for Transport

The road traffic forecasts are a key factor in considering spending plans for roads. The new forecasts recognise that previous iterations have significantly over-estimated road traffic levels. Campaign for Better Transport has shown how previous flawed forecasts have over-estimated the benefits from road building schemes and have been used to justify a return to 'predict and provide' road building