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Latest DfT roads strategy announcement is misleading

16 July 2008
Responding to today’s announcement of a new programme of motorway hard-shoulder running by the Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly [1], Campaign for Better Transport’s Roads and Climate Campaigner Richard George said:

“The Government is misleading us with its claims that hard-shoulder running at 60mph is the solution to motorway congestion [2]. It’s just another plan to increase traffic on our roads, which won’t solve congestion and will pump out another 300,000 tonnes of CO2 [3]. The Government’s own research shows that rolling out hard-shoulder running on this scale will increase CO2 and traffic levels – at a time when we must reduce CO2 to tackle climate change.”

Notes to editors

[1] http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/introtoroads/roadcongestion/roadscommandpaper1.pdf

[2] Campaign for Better Transport welcomed hard-shoulder running when the M42 pilot study found CO2 reductions and increased journey reliability. Crucially these benefits arose because cars were travelling at 50mph – but once the study was over the Government secretly raised the speed limit to 60mph, wiping out all the benefits in the process.

[3] According to the Department for Transport’s research into hard-shoulder running, ‘Advanced motorway signalling and traffic management feasibility study’, rolling out ‘priority hard-shoulder running’ would increase CO2 by more than their planned motorway widening programme, as well as increasing traffic and reducing smooth running. Page 53 of the ‘Advanced motorway signalling’ report shows that ‘priority HSR’ will increase CO2 by 300,000 tonnes, increase traffic by 0.11 and decrease ‘smoother running’ by .05. Meanwhile their planned motorway widening programme will increase CO2 by 290,000 tonnes, increase traffic by 0.07 and will not decrease ‘smoother running’ at all. The report is available from the DfT website.