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RAC Foundation report favours road building

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A new road building programme would reduce congestion and be good for the environment, claim the RAC Foundation.

Current policy, it argues, has resulted in a series of misconceptions and myths, based on propaganda rather than facts, which now needs to be addressed.

“Road building if well designed can be a cost effective way of improving mobility for all without having a material effect on climate change,” said Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation.

“It is essential that sensitively designed new road capacity features alongside plans to develop housing, utilities and public transport in response to the UK's future population growth.

"The myths and the merits of roads need to be recognised.”

In its report ‘Myths and exaggerations about roads and road building in Great Britain’, it claims new roads with a road pricing element could reduce emissions by up to 10%.

In addition, it argues increased capacity would reduce congestion; benefit low income groups; provide a better, cheaper alternative to public transport; and is affordable considering the £45 billion a year paid in motoring related taxes.

However, none of the three major political parties are advocating a return to the road building programmes of the 70s and 80s.

Sharing a platform at a recent road pricing conference with his Conservative and Liberal Democrat equivalents, Transport Minister Paul Clark said: “Building our way out of congestion is not a viable option.”

The report’s claims were met with dismay by environmental group Friends of the Earth.

“This report is a smokescreen for the damaging impact road traffic is having on the planet,” said Friends of the Earth's transport campaigner David Powell.

“The reality is road transport is responsible for more than a fifth of UK carbon emissions.

"If we are serious about tackling climate change we need a new direction in transport.

“The priority must be massive investment in better public transport and moves to make it easier for people to walk and cycle.

"This would dramatically reduce our carbon emissions, cut congestion and lead to a healthier Britain.”

To view the RAC Foundation report click here.



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