Text Size

Current Size: 100%

Government infrastructure plans - response

27 June 2013
Campaign for Better Transport has responded to the publication by the Treasury of Investing in Britain's Future.

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport said

“The Government’s £28 billion of road-building plans are a colossal transport policy error. Particularly worrying is the new aim of dualling a large proportion of the Highways Agency network, to look again at environmentally disastrous schemes around Stonehenge and along the south coast, and the decision to end any guaranteed funding for green transport outside London.”

Stephen Joseph continued

“Road-building on the scale planned will be environmentally destructive and hugely counterproductive. Any plans that go forward will be at enormous cost to the public purse and our environment. And the process of carrying out massive feasibility studies will meanwhile create widespread blight and uncertainty.”

The announcement of a feasibility study for the A303/A30/A358 corridor raises a number of important concerns. These include the impact on the natural environment, for example the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The most recent plans to create a road tunnel under Stonehenge were abandoned in the face of enormous cost high environmental impact.

The new feasibility study looking at the A27 along the south coast comes only 10 years after the completion of major Government research that ruled out dualling this route. The spectre of a south coast motorway will again be raised, with significant environment constraints, including the South Downs National Park.

Stephen Joseph said

“The Government has learned nothing from previous attempts to revive major road building. Many of these proposals will be fiercely opposed by local people and by anyone who wants a rational transport policy that gives people more choices rather than entrenching car dependency.”

High profile and on-going local opposition to road building has most recently been seen at the site of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road. This will be the site of a national rally against road building on 13 July organised by six major charities - see notes.

In 1989, the Government published its White Paper, Roads for Prosperity. This proposed a massive programme of new roads and led to infamous confrontations at Twyford Down, Newbury, Fairmile and elsewhere.

There are also concerns about changes to local transport funding to promote new roads.

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport said

“With the creation of the Single Local Growth Fund, money previously earmarked for cycling and sustainable transport has been handed to Local Enterprise Partnerships, which puts under threat any measures to support greener transport outside London.”

Among the funding which will be rolled into the Single Local Growth Fund is money previously set aside for a second round of the £600m Local Sustainable Transport Fund. For 2015, this will now form part of the £2bn Single Local Growth Fund administered by the business-led Local Enterprise Partnerships and will leave no guaranteed funding for cycling outside London.

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport said

“There is a small amount of good news in the announcement. The £10 billion allocated for road repairs will create jobs but it is unclear how much of this is new money. The restatement of commitments to rail investment is also welcome.”

ENDS

Notes

The Roads to Nowhere national rally against road-building will take place at Crowhurst, East Sussex on Saturday 13 July. More details here.

Details of the 2002 South Coast Multi-Modal Study are here.

Details of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund are here.