ABD Condemns New Anti Roads Umbrella Group
"Bad for Safety, Bad for Communities, Bad for Britain"
The ABD today strongly condemned a new pressure group called Road Block, which has been set up as an umbrella organisation to co-ordinate anti road campaigners' efforts.
During the 1990's, anti roads campaigners brought a complete end to the building and upgrading of roads in Britain. Through skilful lobbying and PR, they managed to convince both main political parties to adopt a rigorously anti car stance — a position which turned out to be undeliverable in practice.
"This was a disaster for Britain," said the ABD's Nigel Humphries. "For ten years nothing happened except arguments -Britains transport infrastructure fell further behind other countries whilst councils focussed on making drivers unwelcome in a hundred different ways, ranging from reduced parking to traffic calming. Nothing was allowed that made life better for motorists."
This negative policy resulted in:
- No new trunk roads — increased congestion on existing motorways
- No bypasses — heavy traffic grinding through towns and villages
- No upgrades to main roads — more people killed in accidents due to heavy traffic loads on single carriageway A roads and poor quality dual carriageways
- No urban underpasses and relief roads — worsening urban congestion and mixing of traffic with pedestrians and cyclists to the detriment of all
The increased congestion that resulted from no projects being started for ten years was then used to blame motorists for using their cars too much, and hence to justify measures to actually make the roads worse on the basis that traffic would simply "disappear" if life were made unpleasant enough for drivers.
And disappear it did — onto the motorways and country roads as people moved out of the town centre for their living, work and leisure.
"All the roads protesters achieved was to make people more dependant on their cars by encouraging them to move to where the roads already existed, but public transport didn't," continued Humphries.
Now, sense has begun to prevail, and, finally, roadbuilding is back on the agenda (though there is a long way to go!).
- Some new motorways have been built and are planned — albeit tolled, which is not ideal
- New dual carriageways like the A120 in Essex have transformed journeys for thousands of people whilst improving the lot of people living in communities on the old road, and improving safety
- New graded junctions have appeared on the A1 (North East) and A45 (West Mids), taking away serious accident blackspots and saving lives
- New bypasses have finally been built around some of the communities that have campaigned for them for 40 years
"We must not let Road Block return us to the dark ages," concluded Humphries. "Britain has been strangled enough by these people. We need better facilities for everyone — drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, bus and rail passengers. And we need good planning to help people live nearer their places of work, and so reduce the demand on the transport system as a whole. Above all, we need an end to the nonsensical ideas of the anti roads lobby."