Monday, August 20, 2007

Road building in the news!

Road building has been in the news a lot recently. Firstly Transport 2000 tipped off the Guardian about the massive cost of the proposed M6 widening which at £2.9 billion works out to be £1,000 per inch! This was then picked up in the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail. Then the M1 came under the spotlight as the Guardian revealed that the Government was planning to add not two but four new lanes to the M1 – creating a 10-lane superhighway.

Next came the cover story of the New Statesman. The article exposed the flaws in the DfT’s decision-making structures that result in road schemes always being seen make economic sense. This is one of the strongest attacks on the DfT’s appraisal system ever written and is essential reading for roads campaigners.

BBC4 documentary on roads resistance

Next week (Tuesday 21, Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 August at 9pm) a three-part documentary will air on BBC4. ‘the Secret Life of the Motorway’ will chronicle the first years of motorway building, through the 1960s and ‘70s and then cover the rise of anti-road protests in the 80s and 90s. Transport 2000’s campaigns director and roads campaigner make an appearance because of their role in the Twyford Down protest.

Car use, climate change and obesity linked

A report published by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) and Adrian Davis Associates highlights the car’s connection to obesity and climate change. The report finds that if we all walked just an hour more a week – what we did 30 years ago, when car ownership was less common – we could help save up to 11 MtCO2 (15.4% of total emissions from passenger cars) and drop almost three pounds each year to boot.

the report.

New guidance on DfT funding for local road schemes

The DfT has just published new guidance for local authorities seeking DfT funding for new roads. It is basically the ‘rule book’ for those of you opposing local council road schemes. It is very strict about the need to examine non-road building alternatives and requires authorities to consider “measures that reduce or influence the need to travel… and other alternatives to address the problems in the area, such as public transport provision, demand management policies, traffic management measures and strategies”.

It also requires local authorities to contribute at least 10% of the scheme costs, 50% of the preparatory costs (after the scheme has been entered into the programme), and 50% of any cost increases. The scheme must also have been prioritised by the region. The guidance will set the hurdles considerably higher for local authorities who wish to promote dead-end road schemes.

Transport 2000 slams the Planning White Paper

The consultation period closed on Friday for the Planning White Paper, whose proposals could make the planning system more unfair to objectors. We think thousands of people wrote in to oppose the proposals.

Free legal phone line for environmental groups

Friends of the Earth's Rights & Justice Centre offers free legal advice on environmental issues to anyone (not just FoE groups) concerned about the impact of public authority decisions; to people who don't feel they have been properly consulted; or to people who are simply unsure about their rights.

Contact FREEPHONE 0808 801 0405, 6.30-8.30pm on Wednesdays. The service is staffed by Friends of the Earth's legal staff and by volunteer lawyers. Individuals who contact the advice line will be given preliminary advice. Cases will then be either taken up by the Rights and Justice Centre or passed to an organisation that can help.

Is there a noisy road through countryside near you?

Transport for Quality of Life consultancy wants to talk to people about how traffic noise in a rural area has affected how they live their lives. By documenting their experiences they aim to show how noise from roads impacts those living in, working in and visiting the countryside. If you or your friends still have strong memories of how, for example, noise from a motorway built nearby in the 1980s has changed where you go to walk, ride, relax or how you can use your house or garden, please email Ian Taylor, Transport for Quality of Life,