Monday 18 January 2010

£1 billion a year wasted on self-defeating car dependency

Around £1 billion a year is being spent on road schemes which are not working, the Campaign for Better Transport said.

Based on an inspection of the Highways Agency's own evaluation of the schemes, the Campaign said the projects failed to ease traffic congestion. Instead it found the traffic increased significantly on all the roads, triggering demands for yet more bypasses. Residents complained that far from relieving villages, new problems had been created by drivers taking shortcuts. Where traffic had fallen, cars were now driving too fast, they said.

Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrats' transport spokesman, said: “It is clear the Government continues to overestimate the benefits of road schemes while putting obstacles in the way of rail and tram schemes.

“The Department for Transport appears stuck in the 1980s, with money spent on roads seen as investment and money spent on rail seen as subsidy.

“We need fundamental change in the way the Government appraises transport schemes, taking much more account of the environmental impact and removing the biases that work in favour of road.”