Letter: Five reasons to build more roads

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The Independent Online
Sir: There are compelling reasons for not reducing the road construction programme (report, 28 September).

1. New roads are an essential long-term investment. Life would be intolerable in the 1990s if the motorway programme had not begun in the 1960s. Inadequate expenditure on roads in the 1980s is already exacting an economic toll through the cost of congestion.

2. The United Kingdom must have an efficient roads network to take advantage of European markets. We are on the periphery of Europe, and manufacturers in areas such as Wales, Scotland and the north of England will be unable to match competitors elsewhere in the EC if our transport routes are clogged.

3. A buoyant economy more easily sustains the investment needed to protect the environment. Germany and the US, for example, have stricter legislation on car exhaust emissions than the UK: Britain's struggling car industry is now advancing arguments to delay the introduction of autocatalysts.

4. The roads programme is environmentally desirable. Exhaust emissions will be cut if there is a reduction in traffic congestion. The 'Roads to Prosperity' bypass programme promises to give millions of people much-needed relief from the problems caused by through-traffic.

5. Ownership of a car confers on individuals the freedom to choose where they work and how they spend their leisure time. That is a freedom that will not readily be relinquished, for to do so detracts from the quality of life. Therefore, attempts to deny people use of their cars by limiting road space, or by charging them to use it, must be seen as self-defeating.

Yours faithfully,


Deputy Director General

The Automobile Association

Basingstoke, Hampshire