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Roads to Nowhere

Campaigners protest against unwanted M4 ‘Smart Motorway’

3 September 2015

Today, campaigners have been protesting outside Maidenhead Town Hall  to show opposition against plans to turn the stretch of the M4 between London and Reading (junctions 3-12) into a ‘Smart Motorway’ which will lead to more traffic, more pollution and will be more dangerous.

Following the protest a preliminary hearing will start a six-month examination, which needs to take place before Highways England can complete the project, with Campaign for Better Transport and Reading Friends of the Earth submitting evidence against these plans on environmental and safety issues.

Sian Berry, Roads Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport’ said:

“We have major concerns about the safety to road users with the loss of the hard shoulder as a place to stop in an emergency. This will only make the motorway more dangerous and congested when anyone breaks down.

"Also, it is estimated that the cost of the work on this stretch of motorway – including replacing 11 bridges - will be £600-900 million, which is an astronomical sum which could be better spent on maintaining local roads and further investment in public transport, especially buses which are facing huge funding cuts.  

"Creating a ‘Managed Motorway’ without hard shoulder conversion would be quicker, cheaper and safer.”

John Booth, Reading Friends of the Earth said:

“The government needs to realise that by allowing traffic growth on this stretch of the M4 a huge strain will be put on the surrounding local road network. As well as jamming up local streets and junctions the additional traffic on local roads will make them more dangerous and put lives at risk.”  

Jenny Bates, Air Pollution Campaigner, Friends of the Earth said:

“Air pollution is a hidden killer, responsible for tens of thousands of early deaths a year in the UK.

“Extra traffic from this scheme would just add to the problem when the government is supposed to be doing all it can to meet legal limits as soon as possible, following a ruling by the Supreme Court.

“The government needs to put this national public health crisis ahead of trying to cram even more traffic onto our motorways.

“More traffic would also add to carbon emissions, making it harder to meet our Climate Change commitments, when the government should be showing leadership ahead of key international talks in Paris at the end of the year.”

Ends

For further information please contact:

Richard Watkins, Press Officer, at Campaign for Better Transport on 020 7566 6494 / 07984 773468 or richard.watkins@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to editors

More information about plans to turn the stretch of the M4 between London and Reading into a ‘Smart Motorway’ can be found on Reading Friends of the Earth website here and on Campaign for Better Transport’s website here

Photographs of the protest are available from Campaign for Better Transport’s press office on request.

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).