THE GOVERNMENT effectively signalled the abandonment of its 'integrated' transport policy this week when it announced a massive new road building plan. Transport secretary Alistair Darling announced a £2 billion roads programme, which will involve widening parts of the M1 and M6 as well as other major roads. There is no doubt that congestion on such roads is making travelling a nightmare.
But the answer is not just to pour more money into building wider and bigger roads. What is needed is an 'integrated' transport policy centred on major investment in public transport, to push lorries and cars off the roads. But this is what the government refuses to do.
Building more and wider roads will simply lead to more traffic, as every serious study has shown. The Transport 2000 campaign group says the government's 'decision to go along with the road plans would be a move away from integrated transport'.
Friends of the Earth says that the new road plans mean the government has 'abandoned any attempt at having a sustainable transport policy'.