Caution greets 'shift' on roads policy

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The Independent Online
A CAUTIOUS welcome was given by environmentalists yesterday to the shift away from road-building and enthusiasm for private cars, as outlined in an interview which John Gummer, Secretary of State for the Environment, gave the Independent on Sunday.

Mr Gummer warned that if the numbers of cars continued to rise then they would dominate everyday living. Instead, he said, 'the car must become our servant rather than our master'. The Government is now expected to announce in about 10 days that it has scaled down road building and road improvement plans after a review by its transport and environment departments.

Roger Higman, of Friends of the Earth, said yesterday: 'Road traffic is forecast to almost double over the next 30 years. Unless policies are brought in to discourage cars and encourage use of public transport and cycles, our countryside will continue to be bulldozed for new roads and our cities polluted by toxic fumes.' But he warned that even if the roads programme was cut back, the Department of Transport would still want to carry out many controversial road-widening schemes.

Ministers have stressed that they still intend to give priority to motorway widening schemes. According to Friends of the Earth, they will include the M62 relief road and another 10 schemes all likely to affect marginal Tory seats.

Leading article, page 15

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