Tuesday 8 February 2011

Motorway madness

The Highways Agency mishandled the project to tackle congestion on Britain's busiest motorway in what has been described as probably the "worst case" of a private finance initiative scheme seen so far.

Margaret Hodge, the Labour MP who chairs the public accounts committee, lambasted the 30-year, £3.4bn private finance contract for widening the M25 and said the mishandling had cost the taxpayer as much as an extra £1bn.

A report by the public accounts committee said MPs had been "shocked" to learn that
£80m was spent on consultants to advise the department on "how to build a road".

And there’s more exciting news of an underground tunnel and slip lane which will lead from the M25 to a petrol station, hotel, shops and 721 car parking spaces.

Philip Hammond MP and local government secretary Eric Pickles MP set aside objections today and gave the go ahead to the traffic order.

The decision by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in October 2005 to allow a service station was greeted with dismay after a decade of campaigns and planning inquiries by campaigners in Cobham.

He overturned concerns about the fact the farmland sold by the owners of the New Barn Farm was in Greenbelt pointing to the need for more service stations on the motorway for safety reasons.