"Britain isn't big enough for us to be pouring more and more concrete over its green and pleasant land."Mr Darling would be well advised to establish the facts relating to his new job before making such pronouncements.
Firstly, concrete is no longer regarded as a suitable material for road building due to its poor surface quality and increased noise levels. Tarmac is the prefered material — somewhat worrying that our new Transport Secretary hasn't even noticed this whilst driving around the country.
Secondly, pro-rata, Britain has far fewer motorways than all other major European countries, and none of those countries are even remotely 'covered in tarmac'.
These three graphs compare motorway length with population and land area for countries across Europe.
The reality is very different and is best illustrated by a wonderful book called "England The Photographic Atlas". This is published by Getmapping.com and uses aerial photographs from a millenium project to create a photomosiac of the entire country. (Similar books covering Scotland and Wales are in the pipeline).
The immediate impression that the book gives is that England is still very much a green and pleasant land.
Turn to any page and the overwhelmingly dominant colour is green. Even in cities, the combination of parkland, gardens, roadside verges, and trees result in a distinctly green tinge.
The sample photo on the right shows the M4 around junction 14 in Berkshire. The fields that were there before the motorway was built are still there, and the countryside is still as green and lush as it was when the Romans built the road that has since become the barely visible B4000 running parallel to the motorway on its northern side.
On the 1:36000 scale photos like this which are used for much of the country, it can be seen how the width of a motorway is far less than the width of the average field. In fact you could put half a dozen motorways across most fields and still leave room for fluffy bunny rabbits to hop about.
We wonder if those who claim the country is being 'covered in tarmac' are looking at small scale maps of large areas on which the width of roads is grossly exaggerated to make them obvious. On a 1:10000000 scale wall map of the UK, a motorway may be shown as being 1mm wide. This equates to 1km, when in reality motorways are only about 32m wide — 1/30 of their apparent width on a map. Surely no-one could be so stupid as to believe that thick lines on a small map represent real tarmac on the ground?
A three year study by the University of Surrey on the environmental impact of the Newbury Bypass has shown that it has actually protected the environment. See our Press Release 318.
Birds of prey are often to be seen hovering over motorway embankments. This indicates that the embankments serve as a nature reserve and provide an excellent hunting ground as they are rarely if ever disturbed. They are the modern day equivalent of hedgerows.
% length increase|
% traffic increase
Here are our proposals for new motorway routes:
Click the map on the right for a larger map showing new routes in red. All routes are approximate.
|M1||London – Edinburgh||Extend M1 to Edinburgh. Re number existing A1(M) north of Leeds. Upgrade rest of A1 up to Tyneside to motorway. New motorway using A68 corridor to Edinburgh.||80|
|M7||Edinburgh South West||To run from south of Edinburgh, south-west past Biggar, to connect with the existing M74, and thence the M6.||35|
|M10||POLO — Proposed Outer London Orbital||As proposed by the ABD in May 2001 — see our press release 286.|
Channel Tunnel – Royal Tunbridge Wells – Gatwick – Guildford – Reading – Luton Airport – Stansted Airport – Harwich. Renumber existing M10 as A5(M), A5183 back to A5 as it was, and number POLO as M10.
|M11||Lincolnshire||Extend north to the Humber Bridge||105|
|M12||East Coast||London to Norwich. Upgrade existing A12 were practical.||93|
|M14||Upgrade||Upgrade existing A14 from M1 to Felixstowe to three lane motorway.||-|
|M17||Norfolk||M1 – Grantham – Kings Lynn – Norwich – Great Yarmouth||130|
|M23||Sussex||Extend south to new M27 near Brighton.||15|
|M27||South Coast||Channel Tunnel terminal (Folkestone) to Truro. Connect with M5 at Exeter. Upgrade A38 in Devon. New bridge over Tamar.||230|
|M30||Basingstoke – Devon||Upgrade existing A303 where practical. Connect to extended M27 north of Lyme Regis.||80|
|M34||Oxford – Southampton||Upgrade existing A34 where practical.||56|
|M36||Southampton – Bath||To connect with new M39 Bristol orbital||45|
|M39||Bristol southern orbital||To link M4 and M5 passing south of Bristol.||40|
|M4||Extension||Extend west to bypass Carmarthen.||15|
|M41||West Midlands western bypass||To link M5 to M6 by passing west of Dudley & Wolverhampton. Will relieve M5 and M6 through West Midlands, and complete West Midlands orbital.||31|
|M42||Upgrade||Upgrade A42 between Tamworth & M1 to motorway.||-|
|M43||M50 – Peterborough||M5/M50 junction – Banbury – Northampton – Peterborough. Connect with extended M11 and new M17 east of Peterborough. Will act as primary SW to NE link, and thus relieve M42 around Birmingham.||100|
|M50||Extension||Extend West to connect with extended M53.||13|
|M53||Welsh borders||Extend existing M53 south to the M4 between the Severn bridges and Newport. Alternative route to M5/M6 for SW to NW traffic. Provide high-speed link between North & South Wales.||120|
|M54||Shropshire||Extend west to meet extended M53||18|
|M556||M6/M56 link||Link M6 junction 19 to M56 junction 8. Main route into Manchester from the south.||5|
|M64||Trans-Pennine||To run south-east from M6 near Kendal in Cumbria, bypassing Kirkby Lonsdale and Settle, then pass either east or west of Bradford and connect with M62.||52|
|M65||Trans-Pennine||Extend East to connect with new M64 north of Keighley||11|
|M66||Extension||Extend North to connect with M65||10|
|M67||Manchester – Sheffield||Using A628 corridor. Extensive tunnelling and split carriageways to minimize impact through Peak District||25|
|M68||Carlisle – Tyneside||Upgrade existing A69 where practical.||47|
|M73||Central Scotland North-South link||An entirely new motorway (the existing M73 would become part of the M81 - see below).|
The new M73 would run some 20 miles east of Glasgow, between the M74 near Larkhall, and the M80 at Junction 4. This would allow north/south traffic to bypass the Glasgow area completely, and in particular the badly designed M73/M74 junction near Uddingstone, and the A80 past Cumbernauld.
(This is not shown on our map.)
|M77||Glasgow – Ayr||Extend to Ayr||29|
|M81||Glasgow orbital||Orbital route around Glasgow, to include the Erskine Bridge, and the existing M73.||55|
|M85||Scottish East Coast||Extend North East from Perth – Dundee – Aberdeen||75|
|M9||Extension||Extend to Perth||25|
|Total Miles||Total miles of new motorway (excluding definite upgrades)||1762|