Fleet News

ACFO pressures Darling for U-turn on roads

FLEET operator representatives are urging new Transport Secretary Alistair Darling to make a U-turn and accept a need to build more roads to relieve traffic congestion.

The new minister quickly dismissed proposals to create a new network of motorways across the UK, almost as soon as he took office following the resignation of his predecessor, Stephen Byers.

However, the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO) has written to Darling, calling on him to be 'realistic' and agree that new roads need to be built.

In the letter, ACFO director Stewart Whyte, said: 'To suggest that 'we cannot afford the room' for additional roads to alleviate existing levels of traffic requirements beggars belief.

'If the solution to a shortage of hospitals is to build more hospitals, and the shortage of housing to build more houses, why does this logic not carry forward to equally necessary transport infrastructure?'

Whyte suggests that people who do not want new bypasses and motorways intruding on their homes would be equally vociferous if the new development was a hospital or housing estate.

He added: 'The inability to undertake even necessary business travel on a reliable basis is a stark reality for many employees across the country. It is simply unacceptable to suggest that we have to grin and bear it.

'We need some new roads just as much as we need hospitals, houses and – of course – better public transport. And we believe that it is clearly your responsibility to deliver against this requirement.

'Whatever the academic basis for the advice given to you within days of your appointment, it clearly has little basis on the reality endured by millions of motorists on a daily basis. In the Britain of today, we need new road capacity as well as vastly improved public transport, even allowing for the advances in e-commerce and other new technologies.'

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