Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon is to officially open a £300m widening project on the M1 north of London. The road has been widened to four lanes and improved on a 10-mile section from junction 6a north-east of Watford to junction 10 south of Luton. Mr Hoon will unveil a plaque by the side of the motorway, which is next to an original plaque installed when the first section of the M1 opened in 1959.
The media, in its characteristic flat earth news way, simply laps up the Department of Transport’s press release. You won’t find the phrase ‘climate change’ anywhere. A new £300 million length of eight-lane motorway is regarded as an unequivocally good thing, even though it has long been known that so-called ‘road improvements’ encourage greater car use. Meanwhile nationally the number of journeys made on foot or by bicycle continues to slump. This is in sharp contrast to those European countries where car ownership is high but a vastly greater percentage of car owners also regularly cycle.
As far as the media is concerned the only shadow on this glorious achievement is that during the roadworks
35,297 motorists fell foul of the enforcement cameras and were fined and receiving points on their licence as a result.
Needless to say the DoT press release says nothing about how many speed cameras have been installed on this newly ‘improved’ stretch of motorway. And no journalist will ask.