Letter: No getting round the Newbury bypass

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The Independent Online
From Mr Peter Agar

Sir: Your leading article (8 January) on the Newbury bypass brings a welcome dose of common sense to the debate on transport policy. As you rightly point out, investing in road improvements must be part of broader transport policies that meet economic and environmental aims.

However, the Government is taking decisions on the future shape of policy before the debate on transport (which it initiated) has been concluded and while failing to provide coherent, strategic answers to the problems posed by continued traffic growth.

Ultimately, the Government needs to state clearly how the different levers at its disposal - regulation, taxation policy, planning policy and investment - as well as the actions of individuals and business will complement each other to achieve a high-quality transport network at affordable cost to the economy and the environment.

In the case of Newbury, the authorities must stand firmly behind the contractors building a bypass, which makes economic sense, improves local quality of life and has satisfied the due processes of law and consultation. And the local authority needs to be supported in developing complementary schemes for managing all local traffic flows in ways that support local business and the environment. The Government must sustain business confidence in its resolve to develop the transport network that the country needs.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Agar

Transport Policy Advisor

Confederation of

British Industry

London, WC1

9 January