Chancellor plans second toll motorway in major road spend

 

Britain's second toll motorway is to be given the go-ahead by George Osborne later this year as part of a multi-billion pound road-building programme to stimulate the economy, The Independent has learnt.

The Chancellor will use this summer's Comprehensive Spending Review to revive a decade-old plan to underwrite a £1bn project to expand the M4 and ease congestion.

At the same time he is expected to give the go-ahead to a major upgrade of the A1, which will for the first time provide a continuous motorway or dual carriage way link between London and Scotland along the east coast.

Other projects under consideration include adding lanes to the A303 – known all too well to holidaymakers – which runs from Basingstoke through Somerset (past Stonehenge) to the south-west of England and to the A47, which runs through the Norfolk Broads.

In last month's budget Mr Osborne announced plans to increase the UK's spending on infrastructure projects by £3bn a year in an attempt to boost economic growth. "By investing in the economic arteries of this country, we will get growth flowing to every part of it," he said.

Details of which projects will get the cash are being negotiated between the Treasury and individual Government departments. But The Independent understands that several high-profile road schemes are likely to benefit.

These include funding guarantees for the construction of the new M4 relief road in South Wales. Under the proposals the Treasury would guarantee the borrowing costs for the Welsh government to pay for the scheme. The money would then be paid back through a toll on drivers.

The new 14-mile two-lane dual carriageway will run between junctions 23 and 29 of the M4 and is designed to end traffic bottlenecks at the Byrnglas Tunnels on the outskirts of Newport.

The plans were originally unveiled almost 10 years ago but were shelved five years later as costs rose to £1bn.

The project has a budget of £830m over 15 years and the Welsh government will be free to decide how much of that money it will seek to recoup through road tolls. Ministers believe the road will provide a significant boost to the South Wales economy. The extension has been backed by Welsh Conservatives.

Plans are also being considered to invest billions major road upgrades in England.

The single carriageway sections A1 between Newcastle and Berwick-upon-Tweed would be converted to dual carriageway, while there are also proposals to widen the A47 in Norfolk.

Funding is also likely to be secured for the A303 to be turned into a dual carriageway after a long-running campaign. The road is widely used by holidaymakers heading to the South of England and is heavily congested

Motoring groups welcomed the construction of a new motorway in Wales. However, environmentalists warned the road would cross the Gwent Levels, an area of unspoiled wetlands which provides habitat for otters, birds and rare plants. Sean Christian of the RSPB in Wales said it was a "very damaging development in an environmentally important area."

The RSBP has warned that the Welsh road would cross an unspoilt habitat for birds, otters and rare plants

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales & Marketing Assistant

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This UK based B2C and B2B multi...

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Executive - Opportunities Across The UK

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Join a fast growing, UK based I...

Recruitment Genius: Events Consultant

£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has arisen for an ex...

Recruitment Genius: Injection Moulding Supervisor

£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Busy moulding company requires ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003