1 Dec 2014

Caroline Lucas says Cameron 'obssession with new roads is environmentally reckless'

Roads funding: Only Greens committed to delivering a real transport revolution

1 December 2014
*Transport policy still heading in the wrong direction
*Major new road schemes 'economically questionable as well as environmentally reckless'. 
The Coalition government’s re-announcement of plans to invest £15bn on roads over the next five years locks in our unhealthy, carbon-intensive transport policy, says the Green Party, the only party committed to delivering a genuine transport revolution.
Under the plans - initially announced in 2013 - £15bn will be spent on 100 new road improvement schemes and1,300 new miles of extra lanes will be added to motorways and A roads.
More must be done to reduce petrol and diesel use and make walking and cycling safer says the Green Party. Yet more roads are not the answer to our transport crisis.
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:
“The Prime Minister’s obsession with major new road schemes is economically questionable as well as environmentally reckless.
“The Coalition’s claim to be the ‘greenest government ever’ is already in tatters. Recycling discredited road building policies from the Thatcher Government of the 1980s will only make matters worse.
“Road building simply does not reduce congestion. For decades, even the Government’s own studies have been showing this. Road building encourages more traffic, worsens air pollution, and causes severe loss and harm to our precious countryside. As new roads simply clog up, the economic arguments evaporate – especially when compared to the alternatives.”
Rupert Read, Cambridge MP candidate and Transport Spokesperson, said:  
“That the government is doubling down on its expensive, unhealthy, and carbon-intensive transport policy on the same day that it is pulling a political stunt on NHS (1) funding speaks volumes about the Coalition’s warped priorities. Imagine what our NHS could do with this £15billion rather than the paltry £2billion currently on the table.” 
Cllr Caroline Russell, Green Party Local Transport Spokesperson, said:
"The government announcement of £15 billion to be spent on roads across the country is both short sighted and retrograde.  If you build roads you get more traffic clogging up our towns cities and villages, adding to road danger, air pollution and congestion. The government should be investing in our public transport infrastructure and building convenient networks of cycling and walking routes rather than creating more traffic jams.
"The more we learn about the damaging impact of diesel pollution and physical inactivity on our health, the more urgent the need for this change in direction and priorities becomes. The £100m offered for cycling is a drop in the ocean compared to the billions being spent every year on roads while walking does not even get a mention. If the government is serious about creating jobs and supporting a sustainable economy they should be seizing the huge opportunities available from investing in new, less carbon-intensive transport technologies and looking to reduce our need to travel by car."

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