Letter: Expensive roads that nobody seems to want

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Sir: It is surely odd that, when the Government is apparently so short of money for the adequate financing of the health service, the social services and education, the Department of Transport seems to dispose of unlimited funds to finance, not of course investment in railways, but the construction of roads that no one in the areas affected wants. Twyford Down and Oxleas Wood are current examples. And now we hear that the M25 is to be multiplied. Here in Oxfordshire, the department is trying to force money on the county council to build a by- pass round Woodstock which the council does not want.

Worse still, the department is proposing to build, through a particularly sensitive section of the Oxford green belt, against the opposition of the county council, the Oxford city council and all the local amenity societies, a six-lane trunk road and a vast motorway-type interchange, on a high embankment, with sodium lighting.

Nor is this all. This road, though the Department of Transport has never admitted it, is not really intended to relieve Oxford traffic but is part of an East-West 'strategic trunk road', ie a 'motorway by stealth', and its construction would imply the creation of yet more expenditure to complete this network.

Why is the money for all this so easily available, when other apparently more important areas of public expenditure are under such pressure? Can it be that the road construction industry has some unhealthy influence on the Department of Transport? Or even the Conservative Party?

Yours faithfully,


Stanton St John,


25 June