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Highways Agency given a ‘blank cheque’ for M25

8 February 2011
Responding to the publication of the Public Accounts Committee report into the M25 private finance contract, Campaign for Better Transport’s roads and climate campaigner, Richard George, said:

“It is great people are waking up to just how much money the Highways Agency wasted on this deal. But the problem goes much wider than the M25. Ministers are moments away from committing hundreds of millions to the Mersey Gateway Bridge, another unaffordable PFI scheme. It is time the Government stopped issuing blank cheques for these ill-considered road building plans and started investing in sustainable, affordable transport.”

Notes to editors

  1. In 2007, Campaign for Better Transport wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly, and the Public Accounts Committee, pointing out the benefits of hard-shoulder running and its potential to deliver substantial benefits and at reduced cost. As a result, hard-shoulder running was introduced on two of the four sections of the M25.
  2. In 2008 we wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Adonis, asking him not to approve the Public Finance Initiative (PFI) deal because of the increased cost of finance during the credit crunch, once again requesting that the Government introduce hard-shoulder running instead.
  3. In January 2010 Campaign for Better Transport published The Risks and Financing of the Mersey Gateway Bridge which highlighted serious financial risks with the proposed project. The Government is currently re-examining the details of the financing for this scheme.