|London, 29 June 1997.
For immediate release.
The Association of British Drivers utterly condemns the road cuts announced by Gavin Strang on Thursday 19th June 1997 as bad politics and bad economics.
When the simple question "Why?" is asked, there are no real answers, only excuses. There is no shortage of money: road users pay £25bn in taxes of which less than a quarter is reinvested in the transport infrastructure.There are no genuine environmental reasons: roads occupy about 1.6% of the land area.
The New Labour government, with its massive majority, has no need to appease the so-called Green lobby which consistently misrepresents facts and conceals its true agenda. Whilst in other areas such as education the Blair administration has shown a commendable degree of realism and the abandonment of old left-wing dogma, this has apparently not happened in transport.
Over 90% of passenger mileage and over 90% of freight tonnage goes by road and there is absolutely no prospect that a public transport system, however generously funded, could make much of an impact on these figures. Roads will remain a key part of the infrastructure of the UK economy.ABD Chairman Brian Gregory comments:
"Gavin Strang's announcement is gesture politics of the worst kind. By failing to provide an adequate and safe strategic road network, the government is condemning industry to higher costs and individual voters to the continuing misery of wasted hours stuck in traffic jams.
"Cutting the road programme is bad economics because whilst there may be a short term saving, there would be a far greater long term boost to the economy by implementing an extensive, strategic programme of road improvement and building. Such a programme would not only provide employment itself but would remove the shackles from industry across the UK.
"Finally, the failure to provide safe roads will condemn many road users to injury and even death, as many accidents occur in known blackspots because of poor road design."