Letter: Myth of the M25

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The Independent Online
Sir: Paul Everett, assistant director of the British Road Federation, claims that the M25 has reduced car commuting to London by 5 per cent (Letters, 2 July). In fact, his figures refer only to the centre. The vast majority of people who work in the centre have always travelled by public transport: there is no reason to think that any small recent reduction in car commuting to the centre is due to the M25. The M25 has brought relief to some villages in Kent and Surrey, though others have suffered from the traffic it has generated. But this relief could have been achieved by modest local bypasses. The reduction in the number of heavy lorries passing through London is welcome, if insufficient, but the capacity required to have removed them all is about one-eighth of one motorway lane.

In 1975, LATA published a document, Ringways in Outer London, which argued for a modest outer orbital, to be built as a toll road, so as to limit the traffic generation that has, in fact, occurred and to be accompanied by traffic restraint measures within London to ensure that all through heavy lorries would be excluded. We also asked for a public inquiry into the scheme as a whole to allow these ideas to be discussed. In a deliberate move to avoid such a discussion, the Department of Transport refused this request. Instead, local inquiries into individual sections were held. The inquiry into each section rested on the tacit assumption that the rest of the M25 would be built.

The DoT is now trying to push through its plans for widening the M25 without any scrutiny of the need, the wider implications or the alternatives. It must not be allowed to get away with it this time.

Yours faithfully,


London Amenity and Transport Association

London, NW1