On your bikes: new roads off

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Britain's road building programme is to be stopped in its tracks. Ministers are preparing to implement a moratorium on all new projects and say that no new structural work will begin at least for the rest of this year.

The announcement, provisionally scheduled for this week, will jeopardise more than 100 schemes in the pounds 6bn road building programme - which the previous government boasted was the biggest since the Romans. It will mark a policy shift from aiming to accommodate the rapid growth in car use to trying to persuade people to use public transport more.

Controversial schemes to be frozen include the pounds 40m Hereford bypass, the pounds 65m Lewes to Polegate road in Sussex, the North Stockport bypass and proposed widening work on London's North Circular. Those schemes where work has begun, such as the notorious Newbury bypass, will continue to be built.

Ministers are also considering scrapping several highly contentious schemes - including the pounds 75m Salisbury bypass, the Hastings bypass and the Birmingham Northern Relief Road - whatever the result of the review. Some ministers want them abandoned, not least to give a firm signal of how much policy has changed since the election.

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