Road spending plans “completely off track”

Cycling UK has claimed the Autumn Budget’s road spending plans are "completely off track".

Chancellor Philip Hammond yesterday announced a £420 million fund for local councils to fix potholes.

This was alongside a £28.8 billion fund for Highways England to spend on upgrading and maintaining motorways and other major roads.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said: "The Budget’s road spending plans are completely off track. 

"For less than a third of £28 billion to be spent on new motorways – £9.3 billion according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance – the Chancellor could have fixed the UK’s current pot hole problem.

“Spending money on new motorways does nothing to address the concerns of people who use local roads for everyday travel.

“Cycling UK believes the Government should adopt a fix it first policy towards roads before building more."

The Chancellor also said that councils will also be given an extra £150 million to improve junctions on local roads.

Dollimore added: “This could be good news, but it highlights the pressing need for the Government to publish its new design standards.

“This will insure the funding is not wasted on schemes that disadvantage pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users, and will instead benefit the local community."

Steve Brooks, policy director at Sustrans, said: “When it comes to spending on transport, prevention is always cheaper than the cure.

“But sadly this budget continues to lock Britain into a polluted, congested future which in the long-run will cost the country billions.

“The National Roads Fund, created by hypothecating English Vehicle Excise Duty to roads spending, is particularly alarming at a time when climate experts call for a drastic reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.

“An additional £680 million for the Transforming Cities Fund is welcome but pales in comparison to investment in the road network.

“We urge the UK Government to rethink its approach to VED; ensure local authorities have appropriate funds to maintain existing roads for the safety of pedestrians and people who cycle; and start taking walking and cycling seriously and commit to five per cent of the transport budget raising to ten per cent of the transport budget by 2025 being spent on active travel in the next Comprehensive Spending Review.

“This is the best way to ensure that people have the programs and infrastructure in place to be confident to get around by bike or by foot.”

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