Roads body: we won

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The Independent Online
ANTI-ROAD campaigners are shutting up shop today confident that they have won their battle against highway building, writes Geoffrey Lean.

In a rare example of an environmental pressure group working itself out of a job, Alarm UK, which has co-ordinated 250 local anti-road protest groups, is claiming victory and disbanding.

This follows the cutting of a roadbuilding programme once hailed as "the greatest since the Romans" and a sharp change in Britain's transport policies.

In 1989, a year after the group began, the then government announced 600 roadbuilding schemes as part of Mrs Thatcher's "great car economy". By the time the Conservatives left office, last year, the list had shrunk - in the face of mounting protests and spending constraints - to 150.

Alarm UK now expects the Labour government to slash this further, to about 50 schemes to be built over the next five years.

John Stewart, the group's director, said: "Some roads have been built but the figures show that there has been an extraordinary turnaround in policy."