“Free” roads


From 1997 to 2010 the UK built very little extra road space. The Labour government welcomed in many more people to the country. More people bought and used cars, vans and lorries. Congestion got worse, time and money was wasted in traffic jams, and the environment suffered from more needless pollution as a result.

The Coalition wanted to improve the road system. For the first couple of years a shortage of money and the absence of inherited plans that could be built delayed matters. More recently the government is embarked on numerous improvements, led by the introduction of so called smart motorways where emergency lanes become additional traffic lanes to provide more capacity.

Roads are supplied free at the point of use and paid for out of general taxation and public borrowing. This has its advantages. It allows people of all incomes to enjoy access to the roads without worrying about cost. It obviates the need for specific revenue collection. It also means there is no price rationing, making it difficult to assess how much roadspace we need. It means we have rationing by queues and inconvenience rather than by price.

The missing decade and a half of road building made a not very good position in 1997 far worse. There is still no south coast dual carriageway all the way from the channel ports to Southampton, although this is a very busy area. There is still no continuous dual carriageway from  the busy south east to Exeter along the A303. There is inadequate road capacity to the east coast ports, no full motorway to the Scottish border in the east, limited cross Pennine capacity. The plans I left in Wales for a main route across the top of the valleys from the A40 in the west to Swansea has not been completed (A465) .

Big roads lead to better economic development. Most industrial and commercial parks these days are located near to motorways and trunk roads, rather than next to railway lines. The next government needs to make a better national road network a priority. It also needs to do more to assist the motorist, van and lorry driver. Instead of treating all drivers as potential criminals and concentrating on taxing and fining them, government needs to see the provision of road space is a necessary public service where the users pay large fees for the privilege of using their cars and roads. Of course road safety and responsible driving matters. So should it matter that road blockages by the authorities are kept to the minimum, that they do not block roads close to each at the same time other making lives impossible, and they should be constantly improving junctions with a view to easing congestion. They need fewer traffic lights and more roundabouts.


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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    No only was very little new road space built, but roads were deliberately blocked and constricted with bus lanes, bike lanes, large islands, “environmental” areas, anti-car phased traffic lights, hatched junction muggings, no right or left turns (for no good reason) and the likes. Even when there was little traffic in the middle of the night you could spend hours waiting at pointless red traffic lights. The traffic usually flowed far better when the lights were broken down.

    One of the very few positive things that this coalition government did was to close the M4 bus lane (& criminalise squatting too I suppose). I can also remember, years ago, when the authorities made a complete mess of Shepherds Bush Green traffic by blocking one tiny link road to cars & forcing them go hugely out of their way round the congested roundabout which might well take an extra 5-15 minutes.

    One again we see that so called “public services” are more about a religion/fashion and government agenda or about mugging/inconveniencing the public rather that providing anything of real value to them. People do not need HS2 they need more road space. Cars, trucks and vans are far more flexible, cheaper, carry goods, go door to door stopping on route, use less energy overall, are quicker and more convenient and require fewer staff. Try doing a days door to door deliveries by train.

    But government always like grand projects however pointless, damaging & daft they may be.

    There was a time in London when every time you went down a road it seemed they had inserted a new road, junction layout, larger island, additional traffic lights or something. They nearly always worked less well that the old ones and caused far more congestion.

    The lack of parking provision further causes pointless driving round in circles looking for the few spaces.

    People want to get quickly, conveniently and cost effectively from a to b (perhaps calling at c and d on route) over distances are are rarely much more than 100 miles. Efficient cars are clearly the best solution other than for a few commuting journeys. Over perhaps 250+ miles planes usually work better than trains. They are usually much cheaper and are far more flexible in response to changes in demand and seasonal demands. Moving train tracks is rather expensive, but planes can chop and change routes as needed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 6:09 am | Permalink

      A five runway Heathwick with a 10 minute HS shuttle link and more road space is what is needed, Cheaper energy too without all the fake expensive, unscientific green drivel.

      • Hope
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        The EU infrastructure project wants HS2 to allow travel throughout the EU main cities.

        I read today in the DT Junker calling for an EU army. His excuse is the EU needs to tackle Russia! He goes on to say it is needed for the EU to have a foreign and national security policy. NATIONAL. So he is now openly using the word national in terms of the EU. This is why the UK needed a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Cameron made the point the EU could make treaties in our name without the UK population having a say in the matter. So why did he roll over if it was as important as he claimed? Wake up Britain do not let the LibLAb Con cartel become a province of the EU superstate by stealth. Just imagine our troops being forced into war with Russia risking their lives because of an unelected bureacrats in the EU says so!

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 9, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

          1. Cameron only rolled over on the Lisbon Treaty because he was under the misapprehension that it had ceased to exist as a treaty; which was a completely understandable mistake, given that it is so common for treaties to cease to exist at the same instant that they come into force. The clock strikes midnight, and the treaty comes into force, and – phutt! – it simultaneously ceases to exist.

          2. I note at the end of the Telegraph article:

          “A Government spokeswoman said: “Our position is crystal clear that defence is a national, not an EU responsibility and that there is no prospect of that position changing and no prospect of a European army.””

          That’s apart from this one, of course:



          A Force for the European Union and NATO”

          I wonder when the British government will finally desist from its longstanding attempts to dupe the British people about this, maybe when the EU army is marching down Whitehall?

          • Hope
            Posted March 10, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

            I am sure there were wise people like you Dennis to advise Cameron. This was a choice he made, like who he chose for his Euro fanatic cabinet.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 10, 2015 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

            Indeed surely it is cannot be “a treaty” before it is signed at it is only a proposed treaty. It seem in the World according to Cameron it is not one after signing. So perhaps it is one only as it is actually being signed.

            It cost him the election that and giving Clegg equal tv billing and his lefty green crap agenda. Looks like the same again in about 60 days time.

            Same agenda same result – a total lack of vision. Unless Miliband can surpass himself in trying to lose.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 9, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

          Exactly – clearly Cameron/Osborne are the sorts who can only be judged on their actions not their words. The words seem to be discarded before the reverberation has even fully decayed.

          I am a low tax conservative at heart, I promise £1M IHT thresholds, I promise a referendum on any treaty the emerges, I cut the 1.7BN EU surcharge, the EU will be “in the black” by 2018, no if no buts cut to the tens of thousands ……….. lies, lies and more lies.

        • cliff. Wokingham.
          Posted March 9, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

          Or worse still, EU troops on British streets, quelling any civil unrest which may arise once our population realises what’s really going on!

        • Timaction
          Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

          UKIP policy on HS2 is as always common sense. Dont want or need this EU folly.
          EU Army anyone?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 6:18 am | Permalink

      Car are also less vulnerable to trade unions who can hold expensive assets like rail tracks and tube networks to ransom in pay their bargaining.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        The trades unions hold airlines and airports to ransom too, Lifelogic.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 9, 2015 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

          Of course they do sometimes? I did not say otherwise.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        Indeed with self drive cars available at a fraction of the current price in 20-30 years or so, rail will be redundant most likely. Cars will also be much safer. c 3,000 people a year are killed on UK roads, with poor road maintenance, bad signposting and congestion being a major factor. HS2 will be a white elephant on an epic scale. A fraction of the money on improved roads would be more sensible. The UK is also being held back and will increasing be so by non-existent or completely inadequate broadband in much of the country.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 9, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

          @Richard1; “Indeed with self drive cars available at a fraction of the current price in 20-30 years or so, rail will be redundant most likely. Cars will also be much safer.”

          The autonomous car is fiction, no car will; actually drive its self, there will always have to be someone able to take control, in an instant should the autonomous control systems fail…

          If this daft idea does ever come about I expect an increase in road deaths and serious injuries, even more so if it’s coupled to overly quite electric cars!

          • David Price
            Posted March 10, 2015 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            Not sure how things will turn out but there is already a driverless car system at Heathrow called “Personal Rapid Transit” though it is more properly a distributed bus/train.

            I doubt it will be a universal system but no reason why a personal vehicle couldn’t operate in an autonomous mode under certain circumstances, say on a motorway.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 11, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

            @David Price; “on a motorway.”

            One of the most dangerous types of road when things go wrong [1], a split-second laps of concentration or control can cause a high speed multi-car pile up – enough said!

            [1] which is why learners are banned and many believe that newly qualified drivers should also be

        • Dennis
          Posted March 9, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

          I can’t wait for all cars to be self drive – then I can step out into the road to cross or to annoy the passengers or for no reason at all without even looking and they and all others behind will stop – what fun!

          Oh! there may be a law against that and ID recognition gizmos which must be worn by all people will track offenders down so no need to panic.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 9, 2015 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

            Indeed if you are a criminal it will be a lot easier to stop them – just stand in front of the car while your accomplices robs them all.

            Or perhaps a new way of stopping someone to chat them up?

            Rather few teething problems I suspect. Do they stop when a plastic bag blows into the road?

          • Jerry
            Posted March 9, 2015 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; Your first paragraph reads like satire, your second suggests that the first was actually ‘deadly’ [1] serious and that your only concern is being caught for “Jaywalking”…

            [1] pun intended!

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted March 11, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

            That’s not me, Jerry; you may have noticed that it’s a Dennis with double n, and I do know how to spell my own name.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 12, 2015 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; Apologies.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      I missed out the other very effective road blocking, fuel wasting and pollution causing technique that the authorities utilise. They build bus stops which actually project into the road (rather than a lay-by) this so that a one man bus can fully block the road hold up 50 cars for several minutes every few hundred yards as it stops and starts.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink


        Yes we have a few of these Bus Island stops in Reading too.

        I do not understand the logic either.

        Guess someone could explain the thought process !

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 9, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          The thought process is just the usually insane fake green religion or the idea that if you block the roads for car you will make them go by bus.

          But the buses are probably not even going the right way for you or do not even run late at night. Not can they stop to pick up the shopping at Waitrose and the kids on the way home.

          Average occupancy of buses is often as low as 6 depot to depot for the whole day – so they are not remotely green either very often. Taking indirect routes and stopping and starting every few hundred yards does not help either.

        • stred
          Posted March 9, 2015 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

          Alan. I met a LA traffic engineer at a Christmas party and asked why bus stops are built out to stop traffic. He said they are ramped for wheelchairs and have to be long enough from the fotpath edge. I asked why the ramp could not run sideways and not stick out but he said it is a standard design. I also asked why pedestrian crossing lights come on when there is no pedestrian in sight. He said they didn’t or sometimes a pedestrian has pressed the button and crossed before the lights change then walked away out of sight.

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 9, 2015 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          They make the buses driver only too, so that the queue of traffic behind must wait for ticket sales to be undertaken.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 10, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

          They dislike the freedom citizens with cars have.
          They want us out of our cars and are trying to make life difficult.

        • margaret brandreth-j
          Posted March 10, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

          You are joking ; what thought process?This has been the problem over the last few decades; the inability to have foresight , the dull brains that when you go into depth explaining in pink cows and blue sheep what is happening or may happen they ask you a question which demonstrates they didn’t understand a word.

        • David Price
          Posted March 10, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          I don’t know if it is the reason but what struck me about these bus islands was that they tended to be on roads that had extensive parking. By using the island they maximise parking space and guarantee the bus can stop at the curbside.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      Maybe you could all explain the massive investment across the world in rail as I have asked you a number of times. They are all wrong as trains are so inefficient and build more roads instead?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 10, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Trains are good for some heavy goods over regular routes – coal mine to power station for example, some city commuting and a few intercity routes. Road and air are better, quicker, more flexible and far cheaper for most journeys.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          The 15 billion pound cross rail must be white elephant then and cursory investigation into your claims proves them to be just wrong as pointed out to you before so I will not wast any effort explaining them to you as this is not what you are about.

      • libertarian
        Posted March 11, 2015 at 10:32 pm | Permalink


        And maybe you can answer the question I asked you last time you made this statement. Show us with evidence which countries are investing heavily in rail. Then also show the number of car owners in that country. Go on get of your lardy backside and find some evidence.

        Anyhow here’s you’re starter the UK is the 5th largest investor in rail in the world.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

          Some interesting maps showing high speed rail in Europe. Are we to lag behind Europe as they do not know how silly they are investing in rail? Look how stupid Germans are especially with their autobahns They should just drive?!

          • Edward2
            Posted March 12, 2015 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

            Four times the land mass and much less population with major cities hundreds hundreds of miles apart.
            Unlike the UK.

          • Bazman
            Posted March 12, 2015 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

            Many major cities in Europe are hundreds of miles apart including London and in the UK London to a number of major cities are also hundreds miles apart and have more population which must require more mass transportation than those cities with less?
            Anyway all evidence says so. Try commuting a 100 miles each way in mountainous territory by road. Not real.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 13, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

            You need to study geography Baz
            Look at a map a Europe.
            There are hundreds of miles of emptyness between major cities in European countries.
            USA is even bigger.
            Very different to UK

          • Bazman
            Posted March 14, 2015 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

            Many major cities are hundreds of miles apart in the UK. London to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester to name just some and geography plays a part in the UK too with slow journey times hindering travel both for UK residents and passengers wishing to venture further into the UK than London.

  2. Mark W
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Of temporary traffic lights had to be manned and manually operated 24/7 by law, then there would be less of them for shorter periods. Many are set up out of contempt and left over weekends as the workmen (they nearly always are men) can’t be bothered to take them down and set them up again. I see this everywhere.

    If the lentil munchers really cared about the environment and not about bullying, then they could reduce many two mile queues by a simple act of parliament that prohibits unmanned temporary lights.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Indeed the slow and incompetent way that road works are done is a huge problem and cost to the public. They need to have contracts that recognise the cost of the congestion caused and encourage efficiency and speed. What is the cost in time of having 100 doctors, accountant, lawyers, delivery drivers, builders and the likes stuck in a jam for hours on end? While perhaps just a handful of people are slowly working on some repairs?

      The tolling at Dartmouth bridge (now at last replaced with an online system and fines) must have cost motorists more in time wasted than they were collecting in tolls.

      • Mick Anderson
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        Of course the original promise at Dartford was that the tolls would only be in place until the cost of the bridge had been met.

        I understand that the Crossing was sold to a foreign owner before that happened, and now the tolls are there in perpetuity. So much for promises made by Politicians…. Now this has been forced into an on-line purchase I’ve stopped using that way across the river.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 9, 2015 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

          Yet another new tax then in effect. A very inefficient way of collecting it too.

        • Jagman84
          Posted March 9, 2015 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          I believe that it is the same company that runs the M6Toll in the midlands.

      • stred
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        The Dartford crossing tolls must have cost billions in lost time and fuel, and also in pollution and lung disease. The Defra air quality monitors show that the NO2 and particulates levels are only above danger levels only in the vicinity of congested roads. Apparently no research has been done in this country to compare lung and heart disease in drivers frequently using these roads in London compared to the average. The claims about 60,000 deaths caused by this pollution are just guesstimates. But if the figures are right, the tolls will have taken their..er.. toll.

        True to form, the Highways Authority have managed to mismanage the change to computer charging with astonishing flair. The southbound route is slowed to 30mph and the toll booths have been removed. As a result, the frequent 10 mile queues have gone. However, northbound they have decided to keep the toll barriers, which stop every vehicle, divide two lanes into five and then organise a formula one style start into two lanes going into the tunnel.

        Last week, I drove into the second from the right barrier and got away quickly, as I know that you have to drive at the gate in order to make it go up. I also do not race out, as I have narrowly avoided collisions with cars coming across from the other side in the past. This time, as I tried to merge into the left lane, some drivers insisted in undertaking and not letting me merge in turn. After 100 yards the right lanes run into a cleverly positioned concrete wall, so I had to stop suddenly. The young man behind was also trying to avoid a collision and looking left. When he collided with my rear bumper aand bounced me a yard, he said “sorry mate” and I felt sorry for him, as he would have to pay thousands in additional insurance.

        After a couple of minutes, I had sorted out my bumper and decided not to have a new one at his expense. Then a couple of Highways Agency Range Rovers appeared and the officers asked us to move and exchange details on the other side. We would be escorted to a safe place. There had been a mile long jam all day, as usual, and we were making it worse. I feared we were being set up for an ‘assistance’ charge so I quickly explained that the road had caused the accident and it was not the young man’s fault, then drove off in order to avoid delay.

        Then, I realised that this accident, out of the way of all traffic to the left, had caused the Agency to close the whole two tunnels and another long jam had built up. Five miles from the exit I heard on the radio that there were delays at the tolls because of an accident. Perhaps it was mine or possibly another one, caused by the stupid road design, which i understand is for safety reasons, They have traffic lights to prevent entry to the tunnels but just thought it was better to keep the toll barriers just to be doubly safe.

        • stred
          Posted March 9, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

          Scuse tyos. Next day I realised there was a small crack in my bumper and I should have claimed for a new one and whiplash.

          • stred
            Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:49 am | Permalink

            The typos were in an entry about an accident when the car behind me failed to stop in time when we were trying to move left coming out of the tollgates and confronted with a concrete wall, that the Highways Authority have decided to keep, despite the new Dart charge operating. This also causes dail delays and queues. It would be helpful if some MP could ask the PM how many accidents have happened in this 5 into 2 lane layout into the tunnels since last November. The Agency has now delayed the removal of the tollbooths until next November. Re Wiki

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Building a hugely expensive bridge and then contesting the crossing with queues for the slow toll booths is idiotic.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 10, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink


      • Bazman
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        While perhaps just a handful of people are slowly working on some repairs?
        Most of the time taken in motorway repairs is due to safety concerns for the repair gangs. If you have ever done and road work or lorry driving you would see how dangerous it can be. Very hairy on a good day.
        Pig ignorant comment from someone who has not done a dangerous days work in their life and sees to average worker as disposable. Not how it works. Big trouble for any road contractor who has a work related death caused by (careless ed) drivers not paying attention as they ponder on the need for absurd safety laws.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

          They work at certain times of the day and you are right Baz, they need protecting at these times..
          But on days when there is no work happening and at times when they have gone home, why cant we go back to normal speed limits?

        • libertarian
          Posted March 11, 2015 at 10:37 pm | Permalink


          Whilst I admit it can be potentially dangerous thankfully only 10 workers were injured on our major roadworks last year in UK

      • Pud
        Posted March 10, 2015 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        The Dartford Crossing is a classic example of how government (Labour and LibCon coalition) use the excuse of encouraging “green” behaviour to fleece the public. Once the bridge was paid for, the toll became a charge, supposedly to reduce congestion, but the congestion only existed because drivers were queuing to pay the tolls. As well as the “charge” revenue Government was very happy to collect the 60% tax and duty from all the fuel wasted in the queues and strangely for a policy that’s meant to be green they didn’t seem to mind the adverse effect on air quality around the crossing.

    • Mick Anderson
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Now for the Law of Unintended Consequences….

      A friend had to replace the roof of a shop that is very close to a road junction. It’s a listed building just dealing with that was a nightmare. However, the other part of the trouble was the proximity to a road junction.

      The scaffold had to have legs on the road, so he had to have temporary traffic lights. If this meant having the lights permanently manned, the work could not have been done. It would not have been possible to remove the scaffold every weekend to remove the traffic lights.

      The local Council made sure that the lights were there for the shortest time possible, even removing their permission about three quarters of the way through the work.

      If you amend your suggestion to allow for this sort of situation, you have provided a loophole that others could exploit. We don’t need extra laws and rules, just more consideration from those who do the work.

      • Mark W
        Posted March 11, 2015 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Not totally unintended consequence. Firstly the harsh answer would be, don’t buy a listed building if you don’t fully understand the related costs.

        However, loopholes aren’t loopholes if they ares ubject to correct govenance. If the law could be waived by due process, such as a magistrate hearing evidence as opposed to an easy rubber stamp, it would help prevent a 99% of cases escaping though the loophole. An in town urban road normally has several adjacent routes to avoid the problem. Trunk roads in rural areas often require a 7-8 mile detour down winding lanes.

        If the person engaged a builder that researched materials and delivery of goods, had necessary labour dedicated to the one job prior to commencement then the task would be shorter. (We’ve all had plumbers and builders go missing on other jobs, why should the poor motorist have to sit in queues at no penalty to the perpatrator.

  3. DaveM
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Be careful what you say Mr R – your second sentence sounds suspiciously like something Nigel Farage said a few weeks ago. He suffered ridicule, and accusations of racism, ignorance and bigotry!! The press will never let the truth get in the way of a chance to hurl such accusations in support of their socialist EU-phile masters.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Mr Redwood is right in what he says. There are more people in the UK and not just through births. Immigration must have an influence on how many people are using the roads. Why do people criticise politicians of any party for speaking the truth?

      Our roads are congested and better routes are necessary and pointing out that our population is growing is not wrong.

      • DaveM
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        He’s absolutely right in what he says, as is Farage most of the time. I was merely pointing out that any comment made to that effect receives a tirade of shouty left-wing abuse from the BBC (or other like-minded media) who refuse to acknowledge that commenting on immigration is not racist or bigoted, but practical and realistic.

        • fedupsouthener
          Posted March 9, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

          totally agree. thanks for clarifying.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        @fedupsouthener; “Our roads are congested and better routes are necessary and pointing out that our population is growing is not wrong.”

        Except that many of the roads that are congested, the ones mentioned by Mr Redwood for example, have been congested for decades… So once again, past investment failures and miss-government get blamed on current wave of migrants!

        • Timaction
          Posted March 10, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          So more migrants helps congestion, reduces need on health, education, housing and other public services. Who,d have thought it!
          Giving away £25 billion in EU and foreign aid every year and rising is marvellous. Those stupid UKIP people are obviously wrong!

        • fedupsouthener
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          Yes, but common sense says that they will be more congested because of a bigger population. I used to travel the A27/M27 every day and I know it has got worse over the years. We have to ask why? Why are there more vehicles using the roads? One of the reasons is more people and not all born in this country. So questioning immigration is right.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 13, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

            fedupsouthener; “[A27/M27 congestion over the years] So questioning immigration is right.”

            But not tourism, trade or repatriated UK citizens?

            After all Portsmouth is a cross-channel port, whilst Southampton is a container port and the A27/M27 is the main road across the south from the south eastern channel ports of Dover etc. to the west country, not forgetting the substantial military presence in the area meaning not only the MOD and personal adding to the traffic but that the area is also now home to many ex-military families who would have previously been stationed abroad, not forgetting the simple fact that many of the indigenous population of families now have as many cars in the family as adults using that address as their home address.

            Oh and don’t dismiss the effect of local traffic now using main roads instead of traditional ‘short-cuts’ as more of these are deemed “rat-runs” and restrictions placed on them by over active local highway departments responding to NIMBY lobby groups etc.

            Then of course much congestion like effects are being caused by the poor standard of driving these days, for example one person pulling-in/out to close in front of the vehicle behind, that then causes those following to make a short but sharp application of the brakes can cause a wave that half a mile back brings the motorway (lane) to a halt even though there is not a great deal of traffic.This effect get exaggerated the higher the lane speed is, this has been proved on the M25 and if the rational behind variable speed limits on that motorway.

            Questioning immigration is right, making it your answer though is far to simplistic…

  4. Old Albion
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    And in addition to the myriad taxes levied upon the motorist. We here in the South-East have to pay a toll to use the Dartford crossing.
    A toll that was introduced to pay for the first tunnel, then the second tunnel, then the bridge. It’s all been paid for many times over.
    The Dartford crossing is in fact part of the M25 (though not designated so, for political reasons)
    Scotland has no toll roads thanks to devolution. Perhaps if England had been included in devolution we would have been rid of this unfair tax on driving in England.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      @Old Albion; “The Dartford crossing is in fact part of the M25 (though not designated so, for political reasons)”

      WRONG… It is not a part of the M25 for physical reasons, primarily because there has to always be a viable alternate route for non-motorway traffic, for example the M27 starts to the west of the junctions for Portsmouth and not at the western edge of Chichester!

      • libertarian
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

        Interestingly I once crossed using a bicycle. There is a cycle crossing point, you ring and a few minutes later a small van turns up and transports you and bike through the tunnel .

        • alan jutson
          Posted March 10, 2015 at 10:55 am | Permalink


          You mean it does not have a cycle lane or a separate tunnel !

          What is the world coming to !

          We have just had cycle lane installed In Lower Earley at a cost of £2 million, its two and a half metres wide, slightly raised above the road with its own kerbs, and separated from the road by a timber fence.
          It took best part of 6 months to complete, so far only seen one bike on it, but now used extensively by joggers and dog walkers.

          Meanwhile we are surrounded by an ever growing number potholes in our roads, but then that apparently is from a different budget.

          • David Price
            Posted March 10, 2015 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

            Not just a cycle track, they also installed traffic islands to nowhere to prevent overtaking and slow the traffic down. Unfortunately they did not fix the roundabout half way along which is almost a sharp right turn and a MPV ploughed through the nice new fence into the ditch. Good job it isn’t popular with cyclists otherwise there may have been much worse than a damnaged vehicle.

            I did hear that cyclists don’t like to use it because of all the wet leaves. Shame they didn’t ask the cyclist what they wanted, or perhaps even the rate payers.

            As it’s a main artery for the area between two M4 junctions and they are building extensive residential estates nearby, the money would have been better spent widening the road rather than norrowing it.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Don’t think that Scotland has great roads! Many of the main A roads are full of enormous pot holes. Some of the minor roads are more like tracks where they are so damaged. There is no good route to the ferry to Ireland from Stranraer. Just the A77 or A75 with hardly any overtaking places and frequent accidents because people get frustrated being stuck behind all the slow lorries. Many of the motorways are only 2 lanes. When we have road closures on the A77 then depending on where it is we have to drive a 34 miles round trip just to get to our home. Scotland’s roads are the worst I have travelled on in the whole of the UK. I know pot holes are a problem in England but nothing like what you find here. I travelled the whole of the motorway with an opened can of drink in my car and it wasn’t a problem until I got to S Ayrshire and literally but the time I got home my car was covered in spilt liquid. All the lorries taking out timber and carrying cement for the wind farms here don’t help either. They tear up the grass verges or drive on the wrong side of the roads because they are so narrow. Scotland’s roads are a disaster.

      • graham1946
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the failure to repair roads properly is a false economy, both in delays and the cost of neglect. But then, that’s to normal for politicians – they can’t even keep their parliament building in good order and now its going to cost at least 3 billion to do due to decades of neglect. They are money mad but have no conception of efficiency. It does not seem to matter what something costs as long as it is hidden and they don’t have to actually meet a bill.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    There are some major advantages to road charging (rather than having fuel taxes and car road tax) with clever electronic. It mean you can control using price rather than congestion. So encouraging those that can to move outside peak times. It give more information on road space/parking needs and gives an incentive for the government to do road works efficiently, manage the roads better and to open more road space where needed.

    The problem is that with people like LibLab and 1/2 of the Con they would introduce road charging and just keep all the other taxes too. Road charging and no tax on fuel would also make electric cars even less attractive which would be a good think too as the current, not quite there yet, battery technology does not work economically yet for most people. Why on earth do they get no fuel tax and a £5000 grant it is bonkers? When they work and are economic people will but them anyway. There is nothing to be gained by pushing duff ones prematurely.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      The same applies to the NHS you should charge anyone who can afford to pay rather than rationing treatment by delay, inconvenience and other damaging and insidious methods as they do.

      Congestion is a very inefficient way to limit road use. Waiting list on the NHS are a very inefficient, cruel and damaging way to limit demand.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        @LL; “the NHS you should charge anyone who can afford to pay”

        Means-testing would be cumbersome, inaccurate, and most likely put off many of those who would otherwise clearly qualify from seeking the medical help they need.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 10, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          Seems to work on precsription charges in the UK.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 10, 2015 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Remind me how much the prescription charge is, now how much is that hip replacement?!…

          • Edward2
            Posted March 11, 2015 at 8:41 am | Permalink

            You miss the point as usual Jerry
            You said means testing wont or cant work.
            I showed it already does well in the NHS in prescription charges, in the UK.
            Means testing aims to decide if you are able to afford to pay for something.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 11, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; It is you who, as usual, has missed the point. Many people who are entitled to have free prescriptions do not bother claiming them for various reasons, and they are happy to pay the relativity small fee, yet ultra-capitalists like you would use their misplaced actions (that they might see as helping the NHS) to promote an altogether more problematic scheme.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

            Ultra capalitalists….whats that!
            Yet another silly post from you.
            Just admit you are wrong and stop all this nonsense Jerry.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

            Pedantic nonsense Jerry.
            You just enjoy arguing for the sake of it.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 13, 2015 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2, Funny how you can’t actually debate the issue, just accuse others of “arguing”. What ever…

      • Bazman
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        Who could afford to pay for a major illness? Not many and the idea that you would willingly pay for road use is just laughable. No matter how fair it was the road you use would be to expensive and you would be demanding that it should have no traffic when you were on it.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 11, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

          The rich could pay.
          Or take out insurance cover for that unusual huge bill.
          Im surprised you didnt come up with ” the rich can pay” Baz.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 11, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; “Or take out insurance cover for that unusual huge bill.”

            They already have, since 1948, it’s called National Insurance!…

          • Edward2
            Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

            You havn’t heard of BUPA et al then Jerry?

          • Jerry
            Posted March 13, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Indeed I have of heard BUPA et al, and if people want to purchase such limited health insurance that is up to them but will such an insurance be there in their hour of need, will such an insurance scrap you or me up off the floor and give life saving care should either of us have an accident or does that fall to the NHS?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 13, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

            Emergency care is also covered by insurance.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 14, 2015 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; “Emergency care is also covered by insurance.”

            You mean that when you call 999 they ask if you want a private ambulance or a NHS one, and take you to a private A&E department rather than the nearest NHS one?

            What you mean is that medical insurance will reimburse medical costs (were this is necessary), pay for a private room, or pay out of pocket expenses etc.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      @LL; “There are some major advantages to road charging (rather than having fuel taxes and car road tax) with clever electronic.”

      Hang on there Lifelogic, do you really want government tracking your every move via a GPS road charging black box in your car?….

      I would have expected that sort of crazy suggestion to come from the Greens!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 10, 2015 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        They can do it anyway with phones.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 11, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink

          @LL; Assuming the mobile phone is turned on of course, which of course it should not be whilst driving, hmm…

  6. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Whats the road tax junket for? I won’t bother to guess.

    Too many cars/people anyway…new roads will not fix that as more people arrive (somehow) and the rolling latency…rolls on.

    The South almost deserves what it gets since most anything significant wants to base/live there. Quit foreign aid, EU/Westminster bulge/Green junk and repair stuff for the people.

    Get much more freight on rail.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      More freight on rail! So it travels further (than just by road) and needs two trucks one at each end. A to B (road) B to C (rail) C to D (road)? It does not sound cheap quick or very efficient.

      Or do you want to build rail tracks to every home and and factory?

      • graham1946
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 1:39 pm | Permalink


        It isn’t efficient or cost effective, it’s just a sound bite from those who don’t know what they are talking about. You are correct in that the goods have to be taken to a railhead (not many of those these days and transferred from lorry to rail which is charged for -(Receiving, handling and delivery aka RH&D) then unloaded and re-loaded at the other end with another RH&D charge. It’s also slow. While all this is going on a road truck can be there and back and people expect same day or next day delivery these days, not weeks like it used to be.

        It is only efficient if you are a large manufacturer or bulk user like steel or coal or cars or the big parcels carriers and have your own railhead or depot. I once did a study for a large international firm because the boss had a bee in his bonnet about rail (he was Hungarian and they used rail a lot out there in those days) and the inefficiencies are unbelievable. It’s only good for long distances and for bulk.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic – According to Network Rail and various other groups (2014) some 1.6 million road journeys were saved by rail freight. Manufacturers chose to transport £30bn of their goods that way. Factory to container port clearly makes sense.

        “The UK rail freight sector contributes £299 million in profits and wages to the UK economy
        On average a gallon of fuel will move a tonne of goods 246 miles on rail but only 88 miles by road
        Each freight train takes about 60 HGVs off the roads”

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 10, 2015 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

          Clearly it can work sometimes but the need for trucks at each end and transfers (in the fairly small UK) usually makes it more expensive and slow.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 11, 2015 at 3:19 am | Permalink

            Often the comparison figures (energy use trains and trucks) do not take into account the 50%+ energy losses at the power station for electric trains and mislead for that reason too.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 11, 2015 at 3:14 am | Permalink

          You have to consider the fuel usage of the whole journey A to B to C to D with only the middle bit being done by rail. Often the A to B and C to D sections are double journeys too with an empty truck and full truck.

          Doing that the fuel usage figures you quote are misleading. The trucks do the start stop bits at each end the train the easy straight constant speed section. Also there is the large energy used in track maintenance.

          If it were efficient and thus cheaper more would use them. It generally is not.

          Relieving congestion on the roads would be money better spent.

          • Bazman
            Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

            Reliving congestion by putting more people and freight on the roads. Even by your own deluded logic you are wrong
            and as for trucks verses rail and the efficiency of trains this is just wrong too. You have been shown this before.

      • Bazman
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Explain the massive rail infrastructure in Europe and across the world. Believing you own the facts does not make them true.
        For example how would bulky produce be moved such as coal? By lorry? You would need a lot of 42 tonne lorries to move it on the roads that you are telling us are so congested. Maybe they could put it on helicopters instead after a long flight on a jet?
        Are you so blinkered by right wing regressive nonsense that you are unable see anything?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 10, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          Its like Graham says, its OK in large nations with big distances between cities and their ports.
          In the UK it would pay on routes like Southampton or Felixstowe to Glassgow or Aberdeen but London to Birmingham it doesnt pay to move a container by rail.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 11, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

            Edward2; “but London to Birmingham it doesnt pay to move a container by rail.”

            Perhaps not a single container but what of the other 70 odd that will be on the same train going in the same direction and/or destination.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

            Illustrating your lack of knowledge as usual Jerry
            I’ve spent many years looking at ways of saving money via logistics and I can tell you that if businesses felt there was a saving to be made by taking goods from port to destination by other means they would.

          • Bazman
            Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

            How does this explain Germany France Italy and the rest of Europe’s investment in rail for public and freight transport in particular high speed rail? they are just wasting money.

          • libertarian
            Posted March 11, 2015 at 10:45 pm | Permalink


            For sure the 70 containers arrive at Birmingham New Street what happens next?

            Currently rail freight constitutes 12% of UK surface transport market

          • Jerry
            Posted March 14, 2015 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

            Illustrating your lack of knowledge as usual Edward.

            You have not looked very hard have you as it is already being done in the UK, in the EU, in the USA, and in just about any economically developed country with a rail network in fact!

      • Excalibur
        Posted March 10, 2015 at 6:36 am | Permalink

        In India, a much, much larger country, I concede, lorries are carried by rail; thus providing a door to door service without road congestion en route.

  7. Jerry
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    John, you make a very good case for at least the abolition of VED, I hope you have the ear of Mr Osborne a week on Wednesday. As for the lack of modern roads across the south, talk about a double whammy, if it’s not the eco protesters it’s the NIMBY protesters, both the A27 and A303 have been a disgrace for years, as are many of the smaller roads that have to consequently take far more traffic than they are designed for or the physical route can cope with. You make a very good case for a south coast motorway linking Dover, Ashford in the east with Gatwick and Guildford in the centre with the M3 and onwards to Exeter and the M5 in the west – eco and (many Tory voting) NIMBY protesters permitting!

    But what I really want to take you to task on is your comment regarding fewer traffic lights and more roundabouts, no way, give me the exact opposite in many busy locations even if they are part time on the roundabouts, there are roundabouts on the A27 for example that are completely choked at busy times but other traffic light junctions on the same road that flow with easy even though by definition they are equally as busy with the average through west east traffic flows.

    But on the wider theme, yes the “war on the motorist” has got to stop, everything from local parking charges [1] that are being used as cash cows for the LAs to the so called Road Safety Partnerships first reducing an otherwise already safe speed limit still further and then installing a ‘speed camera’ that has no obvious safety merit. Oh and before any wise-cracks, no I have not been, ever.

    [1] and some people wonder why Town Centres are dying before our eyes

    Reply We looked at VED abolition prior to 2010, but the majority view was in favour of retention, which is what they are doing.

    • Mick Anderson
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      To reply: Did anybody bother to ask the general public? I doubt that you would find a majority of real people want to retain this pointless tax. I certainly don’t remember any sort of general consultation.

  8. Bernard from Bucks
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    I used to find the train clean and convenient for getting around, but sadly I can no longer afford the very high fares and extortionate parking charges at the stations.
    I am now back to using my car.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Indeed also the time spent navigating the absurdly complex ticket maze and working out practical times and routes.

      Very often meeting you can do by car in all in the one day might take two or more days to do by trains and taxis and cost more too.

  9. agricola
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    All of your submission is correct, the UK roads have been neglected and improvements are slow to arrive. By contrast the situation here in Spain is almost the opposite, but the Spanish are somewhat different in their approach. Basically they do not like paying for anything such as roads or parking so they avoid doing so.

    This results in the coast National Road, the equivalent of an A road being very busy and jammed in the small coastal towns, but the parallel motorway being almost devoid of traffic except where it is free. To exacerbate the situation the charges are ridiculously expensive. A single journey to Valencia on the motorway is about Eu.12 whereas a return journey by very frequent and clean train is around Eu.6 . Problem is there is a ten mile break in the line so you have to use your car to get to the other side of it.

    I believe most of the motorways came care of the EU so in effect Germany and the UK plus a few others paid for them. Same with the high speed rail links. Something that the oft maligned Jeremy Clarkeson once pointed out.

    The answer would appear to me is to demand that the EU pay for all the UKs road and rail improvements. You might suffer the embarrassment of periodic EU notices with flags reminding you of who is paying but what the hell it is free if you do not look too deeply.

  10. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Over my lifetime there has been a general shift in the emphasis of government from providing services people want to lecturing people on how they ought to live. This is most apparent at the local level where councils are more interested in lecturing their voters about recycling and providing less frequent rubbish collections than they are about fulfilling public demand for more frequent collections. This attitude impacts on road policy. Despite the fact people like to use cars, and want better roads, and pay a disproportionate amount of money to to the government in car tax and petrol tax and traffic fines, government deem roads to be “a bad thing” and would rather spend the money on windmills and bicycle lanes. The only politician who really speaks out in favour of major infrastructure improvements, including for roads, is Boris in London. Maybe after the election he will be in a position to promote major Victorian-style infrastructure improvements to the country as a whole. I’ve noticed the motorways in Southern Spain and Italy are very good and empty – that’s a different story of course.

  11. John E
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Fully agree and would add the need to maintain properly the roads we have.

  12. alan jutson
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Agree absolutely with the points you make John, but we seem to have a different mindset with those who are in power to enact such a plan.

    Travelled on the M3 yesterday for the first time in months, road works being the order of the day with a 50 mph limit where it is being converted into a so called smart motorway, but no work actually being done.
    Why do we not even work 7 days a week let alone 24 hour working on such major roads.

    The A329M feeder road into Wokingham off the M4, which also being constructed as a smart motorway (again no 7 day or 24 hour working) has work proceeding on both roundabouts to the West and East of the Town at the same time causing abject misery.
    Again no 24-7 working

    Then A321 feeder road into Wokingham from the south has Diversions for the next 3 months, as that is also being modified at the same time.
    Again no 24-7 working

    Meanwhile to the north, the so called planned distributer road will not connect to the A329M only some 100 -200 yards away at the ashridge or warren inn bridges.

    The planned souther distributor road exits onto the A321 between two low and narrow bridges and the busy Tesco roundabout, why if is is to take lorries out of the Town.

    With 10,000 or more new houses already being built locally we are in chaos, and the minor modifications I forecast will not help matters much at all.

    Why not build new roads, before the housing starts, not at the same time when we also have construction traffic to the numerous sites, in addition to the new residents.

    Yes roundabouts should work better than traffic lights, but locally we seem to be breeding ground for traffic lights, which are even placed on mini roundabouts or are 4 or 5 phased at some major junctions (Winnersh Traffic lights).

    Perhaps we should ask ourselves why hard shoulders were first introduced (safety)
    Perhaps we should ask ourselves why roundabouts were first introduced (to keep traffic flowing)
    Perhaps we should ask ourselves why we deliberately put obstructions (speed humps) in the roads, which then damage tyres because the humps are not kept in a reasonable state of repair.

    I share your wish to keep traffic moving, but those in charge seem to be on a different planet.

    To make the cost fair on the motorist, why not add a little to the fuel tax and remove the annual road fund levy, then people pay by milage use, and pay for the efficiency of the car they choose to drive automatically.
    No policing/licensing necessary, as all drivers pay the fuel tax when they fill up.

    It should be remembered we already pay more in road taxes than is being spent on the roads.

    Infrastructure spending is the key which France and many European Countries seem to have got right, although they also seem to get many roads paid for by the EU given the proliferation of the signage, which is self promoting, and rather annoying when you compare with what happens here.

    Reply I have email exchanges and a planned meeting with Wokingham Borough on these local matters.

    • Hope
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      There in lies the problemAlan. Cameron building in evy piece of land for his mass immigration, but he is not putting any money aside for the requisite infrastructure- whether this is roads, schools, hospitals, or other public services. The govt is reported to have changed what constitutes a major incident so that hospitals will not be able to declare it, is this true JR? The way to get around the problem is not to solve it but to change the criterion.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      @alan jutson; “Again no 24-7 working”

      I pity politicians etc… first the Plebs call for tax cuts, and then they demand routine 24-7 working on highway infrastructure projects and the like, thus doubling the project cost in an instant!

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink


        Think you have this one wrong Jerry.

        By by doubling the working time you do not double the cost, because the job finishes in half the time, thus plant is only hired for half the time, so a 50% saving on plant and equipment hire, as is the case with the fixed overheads.

        When I was running a manufacturing unit many years ago, we loved and encouraged staff to work overtime, it was the most profitable work within the factory, because all fixed overhead costs were worked out to be paid for on the basis of the standard 40 hour week, the only additional cost was variable overheads which included the additional difference with small overtime rates.

        Then with regard to roads, if work is completed twice as fast, millions of others do not suffer additional cost with delays, so the whole operation becomes more cost effective and efficient

        • Jerry
          Posted March 10, 2015 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

          @alan jutson; You seem to be either forgetting or dismissing the extra costs in Labour (overtime costs more, and most people want extra for working a night shift) and the extra equipment required for external night work. It;s one thing running a factory environment 24-7 but another civil engineering projects etc were noise, lighting and weather all need to be contended with.

          True there would be a saving in the number of days plant etc were on site, and whilst they would run no more hours for the job in total, then and unless the plant were then to sit idle in the yard not being employed on any other (extra) work there would be an earlier cost on maintenance and/or replacement which might well increase the cost of hire.

    • Jon
      Posted March 10, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      I was for HS2 until I found out that the fast Javelin trains could run on the West Coast. That and extending the platforms would deliver vast capacity increase and speed at a fraction of the cost. With inter-connectivity that seems a better way to spend it.

      I felt conned when I found out the fast Javelin trains can run on the existing network, the time difference of minutes does not warrant the cost.

  13. Richard1
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    It beggars belief that a Conservative govt is thinking of spending £50bn, probably much more, on HS2, when the need for new and improved roads is so much greater.

    • Bob
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink


      “It beggars belief that a Conservative govt is thinking of spending £50bn, probably much more, on HS2, when the need for new and improved roads is so much greater.”

      I think you’ll find that Labour and the Lib Dems are as one with the Tories on HS2 (as they are on most issues). Any differences between them are purely cosmetic, a little more or less tax, benefits or immigration is about all it amounts to.

      As that nice Mr Clegg said on camera in an unguarded moment to that nice Mr Cameron

      “If we keep doing this we won’t find anything to disagree on in the bl**dy TV debates.”

      Maybe that’s why Dave is opting out of the debates, why bother when Nick can speak for both of them?

      • Jerry
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        @Bob; “Maybe that’s why Dave is opting out of the debates, why bother when Nick can speak for both of them?”

        Except that Mr Cameron is not opting out of any such debate, do keep up at the back…

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        Farage doesn’t want HS2! He thinks we can spend the money on roads and our existing railways.

    • Bob
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      @Richard There is a party that oppose HS2.
      I won’t mention the name but suffice to say they are often referred to as the “common sense” party, something we need more of in the HoC.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        That would be UKIP? You are right, it’s one of the remaining sensible UKIP policies. On other matters UKIP has taken a leftward, statist turn. Eg UKIP are no longer in favour of a flat tax rate, are now even more wedded to the soviet model of healthcare provision than the Labour and Conservative parties, being opposed to any private sector involvement at all. And let’s remember, UKIP has no chance at all of forming the next govt, so a vote for them is wasted – it will ensure a Miliband govt, either with or without the SNP / Sinn Fein

        • Jerry
          Posted March 10, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          @Richard1; “it’s one of the remaining sensible UKIP policies. On other matters UKIP has [now taken an alternate path]”

          Perhaps UKIP simply got feed up with imitating Labour’s 1983 style of writing manifestos, if you want to be elected you first need to make yourselves electable. The UK electorate rejected the hard left in the 1980s, and have rejected the hard right in the last ten years (if not more), for example ask most people and they do not see a Free at the point of need NHS as being a “soviet model of healthcare provision”!

  14. Andyvan
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    And yet what we actually get is more junctions with traffic lights and many roundabouts retro fitted with lights. Within 5 miles of my home their are a dozen large juctions that could easily accomodate roundabouts but are fitted with expensive to buy and maintain traffic lights. This is often inexplicable as other similar junctions function perfectly as roundabouts. I have noticed that the usual long lines of cars disappear whenever traffic lights stop working, traffic flows easier and drivers somehow manage to negotiate them without help from flashing lights, no doubt to the chagrin of government control freaks. Less signs, fewer traffic lights and a lot less traffic “calming” would help us all..

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      My nearest town is festooned with traffic lights. I have often wondered about any connections between local government and traffic light makers!

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted March 9, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        I failed to turn off onto the Basingstoke road a while ago and ended up driving through Reading!! What a nightmare. I couldn’t concentrate on the directional signage because I had to look at the differing speed limits everywhere and other signs for just about everything. Traffic lights galore and mini roundabouts too. Was glad to get out of the town.

    • bigneil
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      The traffic calming measures usually involve speed humps ( to wear your suspension out) or bollards on one side of the road ( to make one vehicle stop/start continually and use a lot more fuel). Both increase expenditure and therefore VAT on what you need to buy. Government wins.

  15. The Prangwizard
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    There is also a problem where I live, in the country. The roads are in many places no longer wide enough to cater for the much larger vehicles we have and rely on these days. And for some reason there seems to be a reluctance to cut back trees and hedges, so visibility is impaired.

    Many of these roads are probably much the same width as they were sixty years or so ago and the bigger vehicles are now unavoidably destroying the grass verge edges and leaving deep and dangerous channels at the edge of the tarmac which in turn starts to break up. Where there are banks at the sides they ride up them and drag soil down into the roads, making them narrower.

    The trouble is that whilst patching here and there goes on, I have rarely seen any of them properly widened even by three or four feet, which in many cases would help. We need to see more imagination and forethought on the part of those responsible, and less of the routine.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      We have narrow roads even though the road is classified as an A road. Timber lorries with trailers on the back (sometimes 2) and laden with timber often cut up the grass verges leaving a trail of mud and shingle in the road for cars to drive through. Wind farm traffic is diabolical and also rips up the verges and also damages the road surface itself. We get left with pot holes which the council just fill in only for the holes to reappear about 8 weeks later and get bigger still. I agree, the roads simply are not wide enough and often cars are forced into the hedges because lorry drivers are on their mobiles and not looking properly. I put off driving at night and when it has rained because the potholes are a hazard.

  16. John E
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Of course I should add that it’s all very well hearing this stuff at election time, but it doesn’t tend to get translated into action afterwards, does it?

  17. David Cockburn
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    All good stuff from JR.
    However, there is an influential group of people who really don’t approve of cars and trucks. They think everyone should be forced to travel by train if they insist on traveling at all. Now they are arguing that with driver-free cars coming and petrol burning to be phased out it would be foolish to invest in new roads.
    Meanwhile our competitors have enjoyed the benefits of a proper road network for half a century.
    Maybe toll roads would be the answer if we could be absolutely certain that all the money would go back into the road system.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      “Meanwhile our competitors have enjoyed the benefits of a proper road network for half a century”.

      Is that true ? Where were you thinking of ? I lived in Germany for several years and the road network there was terrible, motorways connecting major cities often had 2 lanes only (unchanged since the 1940s) and traffic jams were so common they had fixed static signs (not electronic) simply saying “Stau” (“Traffic Jam”).

    • Bob
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      “Maybe toll roads would be the answer if we could be absolutely certain that all the money would go back into the road system.”

      If tax revenues could be allocated in such a way we would have the best roads on the planet and the lowest unemployment, as the welfare budget would shrink and the able bodied bludgers would be busy earning their keep by mixing concrete and laying tarmac.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      @David Cockburn; “Maybe toll roads would be the answer”

      Quickest way to clog-up the non toll roads even more, and if you are suggesting a universal pay-per-mile toll on all roads isn’t that what we already have via fuel duty in effect, a more formal method (as I mentioned to LL way up) would likely cause the mass tracking via GPS of the population due to road pricing.

  18. Ian wragg
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Roads are free at the point of use. Really. What’s all the RFL and petrol duties for
    The only people they are free for are the foreign companies who pay nothing but use the roads to conduct their business. There are thousands of East European cars on the road which should be re registered but the police fail to apply the law. A near neighbour has a Hungarian registered car which has been in use for at least 3 years without road tax

    • bigneil
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      I’ll back him up on the Hungarian car, seen it many times when I’ve called up for a cuppa.

    • zorro
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      You can report it if it has no tax. See hoe efficient the state is at chasing it up…..


  19. David L
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Ergo last but one sentence – Wokingham right now!

  20. Bernard
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Entirely sensible and reasoned (especially re: roundabouts as opposed to traffic signals). Here in Nottingham we’ve just spent millions either ripping or roundabouts, or signalising them on our ring road… ensuring that everyone has stop, even in low traffic. Traffic signals don’t come cheap either, in terms of initial installation cost, ongoing maintenance or energy consumption.

    Now if only you’d drop your totally wrong-headed advocation of train seat belts…

  21. English Pensioner
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Even if we build the HS2 railway (which I strongly oppose) the travellers still has to get to and from the stations at each end, and unless their destinations are close to the stations, this involves cars or possibly buses. For most, the quickest solution is a car point to point.
    With the possibility of driver-less cars becoming more likely every day, it seems to me that the future is road transport; why look at 19th century transport systems when we will soon have new 21st century vehicles on the road. As a country we need to invest in good roads for the future.

  22. Bert Young
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    There are many major initiatives that need to be on the agenda for the next Parliament and highlighting the roads issue is one of them . So far I have not seen the Conservative manifesto and I am left wondering why it has not been announced . Our host has admitted he has been involved in its compilation so I take it that anything he considers important will be included ; thanks for today’s “tip”.

    The “nip and tuck” outcome of the election is very worrying with the SNP standing by and laughing their socks off . I sincerely trust there will be the guts to put them in their place and restore some dignity to our political system .

  23. Mondeo Man
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    “More recently the government is embarked on numerous improvements, led by the introduction of so called smart motorways where emergency lanes become additional traffic lanes to provide more capacity.”

    A bit like the use of emergency class rooms and NHS corridors and broom cupboards – as well as destroying green belt.

    When is Parliament going to admit that the country is in a state of crisis and is being made less safe than it should be ?

    You speak as though things are normal but everyone can see that you’ve lost control.

    “Build it and they will come”

    No matter what you do it will never be enough until you regain control of our borders.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      It says something when the removal of an emergency facility is considered to be an ‘improvement.’

      This really is taking spin – something we’d been promised to have seen the back of – to a new level.

  24. DaveM
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Where I live the traffic lights are almost unbearable. When they break down though, there’s very little in the way of traffic jams. It’s almost as if people are able to think for themselves (without the nannying of 20-something council “officers”). AND drivers behave in a civilised manner – 50/50 merging, letting people in to the main road from a side road when it’s busy, etc. Seems they’re not all dribbling fools after all.

    The traffic light system has now got so bad that the only way to retrieve it is to start all over again. Fortunately (and this is not speculation but fact) the traffic planning officer (or whatever her official title is) doesn’t have a driving licence. Absolute genius.

  25. Bill
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Agree with you and the general tenor of the remarks made by respondents.

    My plea would be for (1) better East-West connections e.g. from Hull to Liverpool (2) better contracts with road builders to avoid the common problem of lots of coned off areas where no one is working – in the USA I understand contracts are written to allow constructors to save money if they finish ahead of schedule (3) an attempt to ensure foreign lorries contribute more to the roads they use. The 38 ton double axle lorries take up the space of about six cars and often don’t refuel in the UK and do damage to road surfaces.

    • William Gruff
      Posted March 10, 2015 at 1:09 am | Permalink


      My plea would be for (1) better East-West connections e.g. from Hull to Liverpool …

      Indeed, what we need is a trans Pennine motorway. We could call it the M62.

      I’ve used that road many times and never found it to be as busy at peak times as the M25 at any time. We do not need another motorway to link one dead port to another, unless someone needs to win votes in Leeds and Bradford.

      … an attempt to ensure foreign lorries contribute more to the roads they use. The 38 ton double axle lorries take up the space of about six cars and often don’t refuel in the UK and do damage to road surfaces.

      Hasn’t the maximum allowable mass been 44 tonnes for some decades past? Whether or not, the foreign lorries allowed on our roads do no more damage to them than our own do to foreign roads and any damage our roads suffer is part of the price we pay for membership of the EU.

  26. Gumpy Goat
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    no full motorway to the Scottish border? Is that not called the M6? last time I was on it seem to connect seamlessly to the M74. What is needed is a Motorway to the Scottish border on the east side of England.

  27. They Work for Us?
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    At the core of virtually all your posts is the issue that politicians at all levels, national and local government don’t see themselves, as they should, as our temporary paid servants and employees. As such it is their duty to do what we want and not what they want. They do not know better and even if they did on occasion, all they should do is present their employer, the public, with balanced alternatives and ask the public for what they want.
    National and local politicians and local authorities see themselves as Princelings doling back our own largesse to the serfs (us). We need more of the town clerk and clerk to the county council rather than chief executives and cabinet members.
    Apart from an easy right of recall for MPs so we can sack disobedient MPs we need something at local level approximating to the system in California? Whereby binding constructs can be placed on a local authority by referendum.

  28. Max Dunbar
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    ‘No full motorway to the Scottish border’.
    In fact, there is full motorway to the Scottish border. The Cumberland Gap, of some 8 miles length, was closed within the last few years. There is full motorway from Glasgow’s M8 to the M1 and London. Come up to Scotland soon Dr Redwood. The countryside looks wonderful in spring and perhaps you could squeeze in a bit of campaigning for your party in Glasgow.

    Reply I meant on eastern side – will amend text to make this clear.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      More like come up to Scotland and see how its landscapes are being destroyed by wind farms. Our ‘scenic area’ is now full of wind farms and more to come. What with that and the roads there wont’ be much to come for soon. By the way, with all the renewable energy the SNP have foisted on us I dont’ see the weather improving, rather getting worse!! Is everyone waiting for utopia when they are 100% renewable? I feel they will be disappointed!

    • William Gruff
      Posted March 10, 2015 at 12:57 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:

      There is no economic case for building a motorway through Northumberland. The case rests purely on pandering to Scotch vanity.

      Get rid of Scotland and the case is closed.

      • Robert Taggart
        Posted March 10, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        But such a decent road could help to hasten the Business / Capital flight from any newly independent Scotland !

        • fedupsouthener
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          Only if you can sell your property to move. Nothing is moving where we live and the land agents say it is because of the uncertainty involving the SNP and independence. Oh yes, many of would love to move but we are imprisoned!! Not looking forward to what might be a very undemocratic government in Scotland. Not my thoughts alone but those of many in the opposition parties.

  29. BobE
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    The A34 should become a motoway.
    Most out of city rail tracks should be turned into Roads. Some would make Great dual carrigways.
    We should move towards hydrogen fueled cars as electricity has too many problems.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      BobE; “Most out of city rail tracks should be turned into Roads. Some would make Great dual carrigways.”

      Someone suggested something similar in the early 1980s to the Thatcher government, but as soon as the civil and technical differences between what is needed for a railway line and a bi-directional highway were pointed out the idea was dropped like a hot potato. It might not appear so but the average duel-carriageway road is a lot wider than a four track railway line once things like bridges and tunnels etc are considered and the problems get worse as the numbers of railway lines reduce, a single track railway branch line can be narrower than a single track road.

    • William Gruff
      Posted March 10, 2015 at 1:17 am | Permalink

      Every road in the country should be a motorway, and what’s more, the private sector should be allowed to compete to run them. I think we should move to opinionated windbag fuelled cars – some would make great inexhaustible supplies – and the railway lines should be torn up and turned into rods with which to beat people, especially those who cannot spell fuelled properly.

      I’m full of great ideas but no one ever listens to me, and I suspect you’re the same. Fellows like us, who know just what is needed to save the country, should be compulsory reading and not simply written off as bores and cranks.

  30. zorro
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    John, is there going to be any work going on at Winnersh Triangle? All I see is a hommage to road cones with very little work apparent! Another recent bottleneck was caused at Slough on A4 (Three Tuns) where it was cut down to one lane at the traffic lights. That along with the Crossrail works nearby was causing a nightmare every afternoon. Thankfully, they have changed it back to two lanes…..


  31. waramess
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    “Free at the point of use”? It is hard to believe you cannot see the nonsense behind this cliche.

    “Everybody”, regardless of their incomes, will be able to use the roads but those who are unable to afford a car will pay disproportionately more.

    Since petrol and diesel are not “free at the point of use” why should you see a benefit for “people of all incomes” in having roads funded through taxation?

    The currrent system results in free access to our roads by foreigners who do not pay our taxes and these are often large articulated lorries that do much damage to the surfaces It also means that roads go unrepaired during periods of government budget cutbacks.

    Free at the point of use is very popularist but it is an exceedingly flawed concept.

  32. Hefner
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Nice ideas, but where will you or your party, once re-elected, take the money from? NHS? A tax on the banks? DfID? Defense? Talks are cheap …

  33. Bazman
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Road tolls are the best way of paying for roads, but all those who argue that we should pay for what we use and about freedom of choice strangely do not like the idea in principle of road tolls. Funny that.
    If you CHOOSE to live in a mountainous isolated area such as Barrow-in-Furness or a heavily used high maintenance roads such as the M25 then you should pay for this and not expect other areas to subsidise your usage with fuel and excise duties and if you CHOOSE to live in Cambridgeshire with the A14 arterial road this is the ideal way to fund it instead of pretending it is a local road. Little used roads could also be closed like the very sensible Mr Beeching did with the railways or funded by the residents at less cost.
    Hopefully in the same vein a fully privatised NHS incentivising us all to stay healthy to avoid bills or more expensive premiums will bring the same benefits with everyone paying for what they use and not subsidising those with a cavalier attitude to their health. Lets face it what is more sensible than not dying?
    Don’t get me started on the absurd helicopter laws by jealous lefty BBC types strangling transport in London pretending it is about noise and safety. It is not many countries allow large twin rotor helicopters to land on buildings in cities any business or pilot would soon be banned or out of business if they crashed, its self regulating and every helicopter means one less car or rail journey.

  34. Jon
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    The M6 toll is blistfull to use, can be like those old black and white films of the M1. It alleviates sme traffic from the non toll motorway so benefits the egalitarian travel. Why Labour when in office didn’t look to widen the A1 to the North East and Scotland I don’t know!

    Some robust road networks I like for commerce. Though there are some wonderful un developed parts of our wonderful country that are such because of the struggle to get there. They would not remain so if there was easy access. Nice to have a few places to get away from it all.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      Not enough people use it thats why its blissful!

  35. tony brookes
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    There are two sides to the fact of trains being crowded. 1. Not enough rails 2. Fares are too cheap. Raising fares is the cheapest and fastest solution to railway overcrowding.

    • Jon
      Posted March 10, 2015 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      London is the largest net contributor to the exchequer funded by most workers commuting by rail to it. Your recipe is one for economic disaster for a global city I think.

  36. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    The more people we have in the country, the more road space we need. The wider roads we lay , the more congestion there will be. How much more can we take.

    When we were all in our 20’s and travelling abroad on the very wide motorways where we had to pay to continue every few kilometers and had police waiting to take money off us for fines at every stop,it was a different world; the abroad;but being English this would not happen to us.We use bikes more , yet this is very hard in the Welsh mountains and pennines.

    Perhaps it would make sense to use the rail system more for commercial logistics and keep 2 lanes on motorways always for lorries and special lanes for domestic users. Segregation may help.

  37. Jame Matthews
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    “Roads are supplied free at the point of use and paid for out of general taxation and public borrowing”

    Well up to a point Lord Copper. The “general taxation” includes huge amounts in the form of road taxes and fuel duties raised only from road users. Some comparison of the amounts thereby raised and the amounts spent on roads and related activities would be instructive. If the former exceed the latter road tolls would be just another tax.

  38. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    Another priority is widening some existing motorways so that maintenance doesn’t have to be done at night, e.g. M6.

  39. William Gruff
    Posted March 10, 2015 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    More of everything, and yesterday, and fie to the party that didn’t do it sooner. Vote for anyone who can shout ‘more’ louder and promise ‘more’ more often and more convincingly than the others. More, more, more and more, and more pay and bigger expense accounts and less accountability for all those gallant and heroic souls dedicated to promising us more, and more, and more, and more, while actually doing less and less and less and less …

    (doffs cap and touches forelock) Oi can’t read ‘n’ Oi can’t write bud Oi knows a hhonest gennle’man when Oi sees one. Where does Oi make moi mark, guv’nor?

    Which Dickens’ novel is it which the local hustings is shown for the farce it was and still is? Is it The Old Curiosity Shop? What’s that word they uses, gollum, gollum, my precious, when they opposes them as opposes them and wants to accuse ’em of buying voteses? As to the first letter now, would it be G?

    Same old same old. With any luck this is the last election of (undesirables ed) we’ll have to suffer but when has the tax paying public ever been lucky?

  40. petermartin2001
    Posted March 10, 2015 at 12:58 am | Permalink


    I’d just make the, rather obvious point, that the roads are no more free than the NHS. We all pay our taxes and we all can use the roads. So, if the NHS is a socialist construct, then so are all untolled roads and bridges.

    The technology to change all that now exists in a way it didn’t 10 or 20 years ago. Cars can be fitted with sensors and the credit card of the driver, or lorry owner, can be debited, at varying prices, according to the time of day and level of traffic. The road system can now be privatised. Every road, bridge and tunnel can now in principle be sold to commercial operators.

    Is this a likely direction of transport policy for a future Conservative government?

    • waramess
      Posted March 10, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Yup, I go along with this and, given that 60 percent of government revenues come from VAT, NHI contributions and income tax I think it would be fair to say that free at the point of use would arguably be the same as free at the expense of the less well off.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 10, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      @petermartin2001; “Cars can be fitted with sensors and the credit card of the driver,”

      A GPS tracking device in every vehicle – Big Brother has arrived, with bells on, and to think that some (perhaps even yourself) used to get hot under the collar about Labour’s wish to bring in ID cards!… Oh and how long before criminals place fake sensor readers with CC/DC reading ability along side the highway and thus a whole new form of Phishing is invented. Frightening, yet many will gladly carry on sleepwalking towards such a scenario, after all capitalism, the free market and for some a quick quid, are always better. 🙁

  41. Robert Taggart
    Posted March 10, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Much new / expanded road building be required, but, it should be done as surreptitiously as possible – if only to wrong-foot the Greens and Swampy !

    Our choice of priority projects ?…
    Manchester – Sheffield. Four lanes at the very least.
    Black Country (M5-M6) Western Bypass Motorway.
    A1 -M – Lundun – Newcastle. Six lanes all the way.

    Signed – Non Motoring ‘Loser Cruiser’ User !

  42. Alan Wheatley
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Any credible plan for roads needs to be preceded by an analysis of future demand, and as roads are a very long term infrastructure benefit the look in to the future needs to be long term to the maximum extent that it is possible so to do.

    For instance, future demand is going to be influenced by population size.

    Also, future demand will be influenced by the availability of alternatives mean of achieving the objective of a journey: different for goods and people.

    The objective of moving goods is to get them from where they are to where they are needed, which can only be achieved by them being physically moved by one means of transport or another.

    In marked contrast, people my be able to achieve their objective but not making the journey at all, such as by high quality video conferencing; an established and proven technology but to date unavailable to but a very few well resourced organisations.

    So, one solution to reducing some congestion on the roads would be by making high quality video conferencing available to everyone.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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