Congestion on roads worsens

BRITAIN'S MOTORISTS are having to put up with ever-increasing traffic jams, according to a survey released yesterday.

Between April and June, there were nearly 112,000 congestion incidents recorded by the AA's "jam index". This compared with fewer than 108,000 in the same period last year and fewer than 89,000 in April to June 1997.

"This paints a familiar picture for motorists," said the AA's Roadwatch manager, Lynn Healey. "The number of incidents causing traffic jams is on the rise, making life yet more miserable for Britain's long-suffering drivers."

She added: "With traffic growth expected to rise by 2 per cent every year for the next 30 years, even minor incidents can cause major jams.

"Motorists spend hours sitting in jams every month - and they can expect more of the same in the future."

The index showed the South-east was the worst area for jams. All parts of the UK experienced a rise in congestion incidents except Wales, which had a small fall.

The worst incident in the latest period was on 1 April when a lorry fire on the M4 in Berkshire caused a 26-mile tailback.

All of the 10 worst incidents were in the southern half of the UK, with four of the top 10 being on London's orbital route, the M25.

The worst day for incidents was 23 April, when heavy rain resulted in poor visibility and widespread flooding.

Incidents included a Christmas tree blocking the M25 on 13 April and a double bass blocking two lanes of the same motorway on 10 June.

Low-flying geese caused congestion on the A583 in Lancashire and a high tide meant a seaweed hazard on a road in the Isle of Man.