Four national parks, seven areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and a grand total of 39 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are affected by plans to build new roads in the UK.
New research from the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) examines plans to build the equivalent of 772 miles of new roads, costing over £30bn, across England and Wales – the same distance as from the Isles of Scilly to the Shetland Isles.
Supported by a former Conservative MP, Stephen Norris and Rebecca Lush Blum, the new report from the CBT entitled ‘Going backwards: the new roads programme’ suggests that plans for new roads in the UK could be disastrous for the countryside while also failing to provide value-for-money to taxpayers and failing to effectively tackle congestion.
The Conservative-led government is keen to invest in new road builds to increase the country’s road capacity, and its plans have lead to the revival of some builds which were long ago shelved.
CBT’s research examines plans for 191 planned major road building projects including 76 new bypasses, 48 link roads and 9 new bridges and tunnels.
Among the roads are 42 schemes which revive plans originally proposed in the 1990s-many of which attracted strong local opposition at the time they were first announced.
Collectively these road building proposals would affect four National Parks (including the Norfolk Broads National Wetland), seven Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 39 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, three National Nature Reserves, 54 Ancient Woods and 234 Local Wildlife Sites. Many of the new projects are already attracting strong opposition and anger environmentalists. Friends of the Earth commented that plans for new roads were ‘throwing good money after bad’.
Steven Norris said:“As Transport Minister I saw first-hand the difficulty in implementing a programme of major road building. Experience tells us that it won’t solve the problems country faces. Now is the time for brave and creative decision-making, not a return to road building policies that were tried and failed in the 1990s.”
Rebecca Lush Blum said: “Road building is slow, expensive, and unpopular. The politicians and business leaders promoting these roads have forgotten the lessons of the past. New roads are certain to be met by grassroots opposition from communities up and down the country.”
The new report ‘Going backwards: the new roads programme’ is accessible here: http://bettertransport.org.uk/files/Roads_to_Nowhere_October2012_web_spreads_0.pdf
Faye has been writing about cars and environmental issues since 2007. A suspected eco-warrior working on the corporate inside, Faye mainly likes the weird, quirky vehicles that show a distinct environmental advantage. Her ideal car has enough room to fit a bale of hay in the boot. When not working, she likes nothing better than to head out on her bicycle and explore the countryside.
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