Prime Minister plans £15bn ‘roads revolution’ | Smart Highways Magazine: Industry News

Prime Minister plans £15bn ‘roads revolution’

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A cash boost of £15 billion will be used to improve more than 100 roads in Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.

Mr Cameron provided details of a £15bn, five-year roads investment strategy should the Tories be returned to power, in a speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) on Monday (10 November).

He said: “In three weeks’ time you will see an autumn statement where we choose the future again. At its heart is the biggest, boldest and most far reaching road improvement programme in four decades: over 100 improvements to our major roads. Hundreds of extra lane miles on our motorways and trunk roads. The green light given to major projects that have been stalled for years. Action to improve some of the most important arteries in our country – like the A303 and the A1 – which for too long have held parts of our country back. And all underpinned by over £15bn worth of investment.

“This will be nothing less than a roads revolution – one which will lead to quicker journey times, more jobs, and businesses boosted right across the country.”

The Prime Minister has pledged to push ahead with the plans between 2015-2021.

Plans to be announced will include improvements to:

  • A303 to the south west
  • A1 north of Newcastle
  • A1 Newcastle-Gateshead western bypass
  • Trans-Pennine roads in the north of England
  • A47 in the east of England
  • A27 on the south coast.


Michael Dugher MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, responding to the government’s road improvements announcement said: “This is another pre-election con trick from David Cameron. This desperate so-called announcement of promised road improvements includes no additional money and people simply won’t fall for it. When it comes to road investment, the truth is Cameron leaves us like a frustrated motorist trying to get through the rush hour – we’re stuck going nowhere fast.

“Cameron should be judged on his record, not on a speech, and his record on road investment has been nothing but a chaotic series of u-turns. Cutting investment, then promising to restore it after 2015. Cancelling road schemes, like the A14, then reinstating them. And constantly failing to meet deadlines for the completion of improvements. Far from taking big decisions on transport, Cameron has dithered for five years on airport expansion and has been so slow to bring forward the HS2 Bill that it won’t pass in this Parliament.

“The Tories should back Labour’s plan for an independent infrastructure commission to end the dither and delay on the decisions we need to take for Britain’s future.”


Malcolm Bingham, the Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) head of road network management policy, said: “FTA is pleased to hear of the planned ‘roads revolution’ as such improvements have to be good news for all UK freight operators. Improved road reliability will help to ensure transport operators can provide an efficient service to their customers and will reduce the unnecessary costs associated with traffic jams. Such roads improvements will also assist the economies of those areas which are badly served by strategic transport infrastructure such as the Trans Pennine routes, the South West, Eastern and North East England. The combination of improved roads, rail and port connections are the lifeblood of this country and the need for improvement is well demonstrated.”


From what I’ve read, this is not a roads improvement but a sop to the motoring lobby.
Roads were not built for cars. Some governments learned last century that widening lanes and building more roads suited for cars brings more cars and congestion.

It is beyond the time for roads to be built for humans. People walk and cycle using our road network, yet this government (and previous ones) have been far from “walking the talk” on its “cycle revolution”, for example.

Existing budgets must be prioritised to be of benefit to people.

Building segregated cycle paths – “space for cycling” – creates jobs; helps local businesses prosper; and cuts the cost to taxpayers for dealing with the obesity epidemic (and pollution). It also helps people that are challenged by disabilities by creating a safer place for them to travel.



I believe this scheme to be targeted at the congestion “hot-spots” that blight our transport network and cost billions as cars and wagons sit in never ending motorway queues.

When was the last time you saw a cycle on the M1 or A1? Try getting between Leeds and Bradford on the M62 at rush hour. Even with the addition of smart motorways there are daily tailbacks. This country needs a fast and efficient road network to transport goods and people.

Contrary to the oft peddled of “more roads equals more cars” excuse favoured by the anti-road lobby in this country it is increasing car ownership that is the problem. More cars need more road space. The environmental cause is greatly hindered by cars and wagons sat in jams, going nowhere and belching out CO2. Get them moving and emissions will drop.

This isn’t an either-or. I agree with you Richard that having a fast efficient road network is a good thing; it is that the government appears to be using “solutions” from the 1990s that do not solve the issue at hand.

Rebalancing the existing budgets to get more people cycling the short journeys to work or the shops or school will mean that we’ll have fewer people with their cars on the road in the first place. Those that still choose to drive will benefit from that, especially those making the deliveries to far-flung shops and businesses.

If this re-announcement by the Government is again about the motorways, then that shows the billions being spent on car-only infrastructure and lays bare the fact that this government (and previous ones) continues to not adequately fund people moving about by foot, bicycle, mobility scooter or wheelchair.

From what I recall of the National Travel Survey published by the Department for Transport (DfT), there was actually a continuing drop in car use (but when they are used the average journey length is increasing).


Is there an election coming?