Congestion: Hard shoulder plan welcomed, but more is needed

Good news that the Government s experiment to introduce hard shoulder running on the M42 motorway near Birmingham has been such a success and is to be repeated elsewhere. Journey times, fuel consumption, vehicle emissions and accidents all reduced. The

Good news that the Government's experiment to introduce hard shoulder running on the M42 motorway near Birmingham has been such a success and is to be repeated elsewhere. Journey times, fuel consumption, vehicle emissions and accidents all reduced. The scheme has resulted in a reduction in congestion, saving time and money, and is widely appreciated by all users - both car drivers and commercial vehicle operators. Undoubtedly a winning scheme and congratulations to all involved.

But hard shoulder running should be only a small part of a much greater investment programme in our roads network designed to cut down on the terrible waste of man hours and money resulting from daily congestion on our motorways and other major roads.

Over the next few years, growth in the economy will mean that we need to move more goods around. At the same time the car population will undoubtedly continue to grow. Of course we must encourage people to use public transport and we must move freight by rail and other modes. But we will still need an improved road network with adequate capacity to meet our needs. People are entitled to travel. Freight has to be moved to the consumer.

Roads congestion is not only time-consuming and economically wasteful, it is bad for the environment in the process of creating excess vehicle emissions.


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Land take for roads in the UK is not massive, it is less than two per cent. In truth we remain a green and pleasant nation rather than a concrete jungle as some would have it. And there is no need or desire to endlessly fill the country with roads. But it is useless to say that we must stop road building. Failure to create a roads infrastructure sufficient to meet our needs will only lead to a diminished environment, not an improved one. And we are presently pouring about £20 billion per year down the drain in lost productivity and wasted time. We cannot afford not to do something about all of this.

Build more roads.

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Gordon Telling

Head of Policy - London, South East and East of England Freight Transport Association

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