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LETTERS : Road building programmes: reforms, respect, restraint and a n ew report

From Mr Simon Dyer Sir: Of course new roads can generate more traffic because people are able to make car journeys that they could not have made before. What is so wrong with that? The M25, for example, may have attracted enough traffic to clog it at peak times, but imagi n e what life would be like without it. London's roads would be jammed with through traffic; work and leisure journeys would be impossible; and essential routes to export markets would be almost unusable. Some traffic generation is economically and sociall y desirable.

Halting or drastically reducing road building as part of a "greener" transport policy will not help the environment, but it will increase congestion and add to air pollution.

Buying and using cars is a sign of a buoyant economy. But, of course, more vehicles can mean more traffic congestion. This is why the roads programme need continual and consistent investment - there are 600 bypasses yet to be built, and many of our existing motorways need upgrading.

Every motorist in Britain should try to motor less to reduce congestion and pollution. But before they can do this, adequate alternatives - such as a safe, reliable and cheap public transport system, including better bus provision and improved facilitiesfor cyclists - must be put into place.

Yours faithfully, SIMON DYER Director General Automobile Association Basingstoke, Hampshire 20 December