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Select Committee reports throw Government roads policy into disarray

7 May 2014
Campaign for Better Transport has responded to the publication of two reports by the House of Commons Transport Select Committee.

Sian Berry, Roads Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport said

"The Select Committee has comprehensively rubbished nearly every aspect of the Government's flagship roads policy. Importantly, the MPs have condemned the Department for Transport's traffic forecasts, which are being used to justify £28bn of road-building plans. It has shown them up as both consistently and dramatically inaccurate, and as a flimsy basis for a national transport policy."

Sian Berry continued

"The Committee's report shows Government must stop making plans for big new trunk roads across the countryside and go back to the drawing board. We urgently need to replace the dash for tarmac with coordinated decisions bringing together road, rail and local transport."

1. The House of Commons Select Committee published reports on better roads and National Policy Statement on National Networks on 7 May 2014.

Campaign for Better Transport's response to the Transport Committee Inquiry on the Strategic Roads Network can be found here.

2. Contrary to Department for Transport projections, car use has remained largely unchanged over the last decade. By comparison, numbers of rail passengers have shown significant year on year increases. This highlights the weakness in projections for both.

3. Significant concerns have been raised over a number of road building proposals being considered under the Roads plan. Schemes which raise serious concerns over ecological damage and air pollution include:

  • £1.5bn A14 bypass between Cambridge and Huntington
  • £113m Norwich Northern Distributor Route
  • The Silvertown Tunnel and Thames Gateway Bridge in London (circa £600m each)
  • A third crossing of the Lower Thames at Dartford (up to £3 billion)

The Department for Transport and Highways Agency are also undertaking Route Based Strategies which are likely to involve dualling or turning into motorways existing roads. These include:

  • A27 (South Downs National Park)
  • A303 (Stonehenge, Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty)
  • A47 (Norfolk Broads National Wetland)
  • A1 West and North of Newcastle
  • Routes across the Peak District