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

From Mr Derek Bateman Sir: Your leading article of 20

December ("Mawhinney gets us out of a jam") hits the nail right on the head. If we build more roads, of course people want to use them. Otherwise why build them in the first place?

Everyone agrees, in theory, that we should stop building so many roads and should put more effort and resources into public transport, cycling and walking; but, the person in the street asks, how do I take the week's trolleyload of shopping home; how do I get my children to school, how do I get to work in time? As you say, a new agenda is emerging from the collapse of failed policies, and politicians of every party need to be imaginative and bold in the search for a new way.

They do not have to search far. In local goverment we reached this point several years ago, and arrived at an all-party consensus on new transport policies. These cannot and do not rely on any one single remedy. Neither increased public transport nor traffic restrictions will on their own deliver a solution. We need a subtler mixture of restraint, investment and public awareness.

Yours faithfully, DEREK BATEMAN Chairman Environment Committee Association of County Councils London, SW1

21 December