Letter: Policy on the road to collapse

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The Independent Online
Policy on the road to collapse

Sir: It is impossible to square a government policy of traffic restraint with plans to continue large-scale road-building. In opposition, the Labour Party were adamantly against "predict and provide", recognising that traffic congestion could be solved only through a modal shift away from the car. Now it seems that all that has changed.

If your article "Green blow as road schemes get go-ahead" (16 July) is correct, we have a collapse of government transport policy on our hands. The Department of Transport's latest review of the country's remaining road schemes was expected to confirm that latent demand for road space would overwhelm any attempt to provide more of it. The Midlands and the South-east are the most congested parts of the country. But it is precisely in these areas that latent demand is at its highest, which is why funding for local road-building has now switched to public transport improvements.

Those of us working and living in highly congested areas were well aware of the need to ration car use. A national travel awareness campaign, Travelwise, is now flourishing in 50 local authorities around the country, and local Agenda 21 groups are taking on the important issue of traffic reduction as part of the UK's Rio commitment.

I sincerely hope that next week's announcement will contain no surprise and that we can all continue to support a government which will not make the mistakes of the previous administration.


London SE24