What roads policy would you like?


Starting today I am producing a series of pieces which invites bloggers to send in  their ideas on what should be on offer in a Manifesto for May 2015 in various areas.

Let us begin with roads. The Labour years saw little roadbuilding, followed by substantial further cuts in capital as their response to the financial crisis at the end of their period in government. The Coalition lived with most of those cuts for the first half of this Parliament, but is now relaxing the controls on capital expenditure.

As more than 85% of our travel needs are met by road vehicles, a growing economy clearly needs more roadspace. Some wish to see their town or village bypassed, as heavy traffic still thunders through some settlements. Some wish to see more capacity on the main motorways and trunk roads, as the core network is under considerable stress at busy times of day. Some wish to see improvement in local roads, as they find blocked junctions and bottlenecks on crucial parts of the local network when taking children to school or trying to get to work or home or to the shops.

As a minimum I suggest we need a continuous south coast highway to dual carriageway standard from Kent to Southampton. We need more capacity to Felixstowe and the east coast, on the M3 and M4 westwards, on the M25, on the M2 and the M1. We need a fully dualled A303 to the west country, more capacity across the Pennines, an improved A1 (M) all the way to the Scottish border, and better links between the major northern cities.


  1. Old Albion
    July 22, 2014

    A starting point would be the resurfacing of seriously weather ravaged roads and the re-painting of white lines.
    Accompanying this should be a review of the ludicrous speed limits that apply.
    eg restricted to 70 MPH on a six lane dual carriageway. Yet permitted to drive at 60 MPH on an un-classified country road.

    1. Alte Fritz
      July 22, 2014

      Agreed. Proper maintenance would be a good start. And, without wanting to concrete the whole country over, it would be nice when motoring not to be treated as a public enemy.

    2. Mark
      July 22, 2014

      It’s perfectly possible to drive safely at 60mph on an unclassified country road, provided that the surface is reasonably maintained and visibility is good and there aren’t sharp bends, etc. I did so at the weekend. Cars could certainly use most motorways at rather faster speeds quite safely in normal weather at medium traffic densities, and with increasing automation aids the permissible density for a given speed will increase – although some change in the rules of the road will help. Traffic should keep up with lane speed (so no speed limited trucks in lanes with faster moving traffic), and should make use of the available lanes to maximise the gaps between vehicles, and allow lane changes and exit/entry to be easier. The old idea of keep left unless overtaking worked for low traffic density, but it’s utterly wrong once traffic increases, especially now we have slow trucks.

    3. Lifelogic
      July 22, 2014

      In London some dual carriageways are even restricted to 40 mph, mainly one assumes for reasons of motorist mugging & cash generation, to pay all those state sector salaries and pensions.

      1. Roy Grainger
        July 24, 2014

        There is one near Epsom where a stretch of uphill dual carriageway has a speed limit of 30mph. It is barely possible to keep the car from stalling as you try to avoid (another) fine.

  2. Margaret Brandreth-J
    July 22, 2014

    Yes I do agree under labour the roads were neglected and many areas had an unkempt appearance with patches of scattered tar and pot holes which had not been a priority to fill. Around my area the pavements are still uneven and poorly tarred. This should be just as important a task for councils to undertake for the pedestrians.

    I would love to see better links from the north to the SW peninsula. As a child Cornwall was a place where many memories of summer holidays were made . It would be an asset to be able to travel down to the coast for the sea breeze at all times of the year. Wales and Anglesey still has its attractions and admittedly the road links have improved over the last 30 years . If there are more summers like this one to follow, our own beaches and resorts would thrive.

  3. Narrow Shoulders
    July 22, 2014

    A registration scheme for non-recreational cyclists. The ones who insist on draping themselves in lycra and jumping red lights. The fines and registration fees can be used to improve cycling infrastructure to stop this pious breed moaning and keep them off our thoroughfares

  4. boffin
    July 22, 2014

    First, we need to look over to Europe and appreciate what a bureaucratic nonsense our ‘Motorway Regulations’ are. Repeal them; let there be the same rules for all trunk roads.

    Lights-controlled pedestrian crossings have their place, but ONLY where there are lots of pedestrians to use them – elsewhere, bring back the zebra crossing!

    Make ALL pedestrian crossings have a central refuge, so that only one carriageway at once has to halt.

    Inappropriate traffic lights seem to be multiplying, to cause ever more unnecessary delay (and pollution). They are a symptom of incompetence in Highways Departments across the land …. but what can Parliament do about that?

    1. Lifelogic
      July 22, 2014

      Not so much incompetence at the Highways department. The extra, car delaying, lights are clearly a deliberate action by them. They have an anti-car agenda religion wrongly believing buses, trains and bikes to be greener. Unless that is they are electric car or taxis that is (which are both in energy terms than private conventional cars too).

  5. Mick Anderson
    July 22, 2014

    Firstly, repair what we have. Then have a schedule for maintenance for all types of road (minor and major). When a utility company needs to do regular maintenance underground, it can be fitted int0 the road maintenance schedule to keep the amount of roadworks down, and to reduce the amount of patches (where so many potholes start). Stop wasting money putting obstructions into roads. Road are there to enable us to go from where we are to where we need to be. The obstructions also damage our vehicles and are triggers for potholes.

    Must partially disagree with Old Albion – we don’t need loads of speed limits on country roads. Everywhere around here is heading towards 40MPH which most people ignore most of the time, and they keep repositioning the signs up and down the roads (what an unholy waste of money). Those who observe it become dangerous rolling roadblocks. We need to raise the limit on dual carriageways and motorways, and de-restrict outside towns and villages. Treat us like adults – it worked twenty years ago until Nanny was allowed to run rampant.

    Reduce road signs to that which is necessary. Saves money and makes everything less complicated; especially applies to “staged” speed limits when coming into a village. One transition from derestricted to 30MPH is quite sufficient.

    Work with the sat-nav suppliers to default the systems to keep to preferred roads. A lot of them seem to randomly switch between keeping to dual carriageways (a very long way around) and short-cuts through farmyards.

    Abolish speed cameras (and all the other money-making cameras) and replace them with traffic police. Apply sense and reason, don’t just treat motorists as a target and/or cash cow. “Speed kills” is utter tripe, and standing school children by roads with speed cameras is both brainwashing and ridiculous. Leave the children in class – they are safer there anyway!

    Abolish road tax and replace it with £0.03 on a litre of fuel (if you really have to take the equivalent money from the average motorist). Don’t waste our money trying to preserve a useless department in Swansea by reinventing this outdated system with one that just eliminates the paper disc.

  6. Andyvan
    July 22, 2014

    No, what we need is a railway line across the midlands that will save a few minutes of travel time for a few thousand people at a cost of tens of billions. We could call it HS2. That makes much more sense than improving roads that hundreds of thousands of people are delayed on every day. After all there are more well paid directorships and consultancies available on a white elephant prestige project like HS2 than boring old road improvements. I’m pretty sure lots of MP’s would vote for that- oh wait a minute- they already have.

    1. Lifelogic
      July 22, 2014

      Indeed and property development opportunities too after they have grabbed the private property off the owners.

  7. Robert K
    July 22, 2014

    I agree, but paying for all this needs to be ring fenced. Motorists should pay. So the question it begs is road pricing. What is the fairest system? At the moment, the state raises more in vehicle excise duty and fuel taxes than it spends on the roads, which seems unfair. There should be a more direct link between capital expenditure and the cost of motoring.

  8. Richard Jenkins
    July 22, 2014

    Yes, yes and yes. Also needed, additional capacity on the M6, preferably by a new motorway linking to the east of Manchester. All funded of course by not doing HS2.

    And by the way, a south coast highway would ease pressure on the M25, since at present the best way from Dover to Southampton is M20, M25, M3.

  9. Lifelogic
    July 22, 2014

    Indeed all those and more a bigger bridge or tunnel as Blackwall too. In most cities the policy has been to block roads with Islands, red lights, bike lanes, environmental areas, humps and other idiocies. Just undoing that would be a major improvement.

    They also need to get rid of the fiscal bias to silly electric cars and stop all the motorist mugging cash cow policies. Car, vans, coaches and trucks are the cheapest and most convenient vehicle of choice for most despite this over taxation, deliberate congestion and motorist mugging. Also there is no reason for taxis to have any privileges over cars they are after all less efficient than cars as the need a professional driver and spend much time empty.

    Oh and cancel the idiotic HS2 which will cause endless disruption and be worth almost nothing anyway when finished.

    1. Bazman
      July 22, 2014

      No public transport and no taxis. Coaches are often empty too in my experience except in commuter routes where they are rammed solid. How would one live without ones chauffeur?

      1. Lifelogic
        July 22, 2014

        Who said no taxes or public transport – just do fiscal, road space or other unfair advantage given to them.

        1. Bazman
          July 23, 2014

          Not an unfair advantage if you have no access to a car or the journey is to long for a car. Have you ever thought that for some there is no choice? What about you unfair advantages or are they all ‘fair’.

      2. Margaret
        July 23, 2014

        Isn’t a taxi driver also a paid chauffeur?

        1. Bazman
          July 23, 2014

          Complete with car.

  10. David Hope
    July 22, 2014

    Numerous roads need more lanes up and down the country. So many are almost at capacity and any small incident causes chaos. Specifically I’d add the M62.

    What really gets to me with roads though is how long they take over changes and improvements. For example, on the M1 between 42 and 38 they have taken over 6 months adding a new barrier with a 50mph limit and cameras still there now. They always do this!!
    Rather than getting lots of people to get it done fast, work is dragged out as long as possible for what are fairly simple jobs. Not only does this cause massive inconvenience to anyone driving the route regularly, it is also very dangerous when you have narrow lanes and large lorries and a low limit putting cars continually alongside those lorries.
    You wouldn’t think the M1 was our major trunk road given all the works going on as slowly as possible right now.

    So what I want is not just wider roads and more of them, but far more rapid work when they are changed or improved.

  11. Richard1
    July 22, 2014

    A renewed A14, one of the worst roads in the country and an accident blackspot. All such new roads should be French style toll roads. No need for debt or taxes to finance them.

    1. Bazman
      July 22, 2014

      The A14 has to be a priority. A crazy road to be avoided. Crashes every day on a two lane motorway. Classed as a local road but used by lorries that do not stop in Cambridgeshire. The Tories stopped a £3 billion upgrade as cost cutting measures don’t forget. Jonathan Djanogly MP has just had a revelation that the A428 Caxton to the Black Cat need to be duel carriageway. Was talked about and not for the next ten years was the conclusion. Nice one Jono. Only just got the Black Cat bottleneck under way. Hey! lets build a lane past the roundabout!? Genius. The rest of the roundabouts are now flyovers. An old sat nav has you driving across country side for miles. Does he realise how much time I waste taking my wife shopping in Bedford on Saturday Cambridge? You are having a laugh. The next thing you will be telling me is to use the Excellent Park and Ride in Cambridge. A bus?!
      I now have a job 5 minutes from the house in a car or a 20 minute walk. Child to school, wife to work, me to work. Reverse at 5pm. Bike in less than 3. I’m alright Jack. 9 hour day. No roads and more tax cuts please especially on expensive foods which power my bike. Massive hike on fuel and transport to pay for it is needed. Not large motorbikes as these are just leisure transport. This is the most sensible option to encourage work to be near your own house. Even the shops are walkable for me so why should I subsidise trains and roads? Tolls on every road and price hikes for trains I say.

      1. Edward2
        July 22, 2014

        Because you are part of society Baz.
        Don’t you believe you should pay for anyone other than yourself?

        1. Bazman
          July 23, 2014

          Everyone should pay there way as you tell us Edward2 and free market principles are for the best, maybe you could tell us why the British should not compete with EU citizens and your plans for the stopping of blatant copyright violations by file sharing? You cannot? Oh Dear…

          1. Edward2
            July 24, 2014

            Another dull, repetitive and nonsensical post from you Baz.
            Don’t you have commas and full stops on your keyboard?

      2. Mark W
        July 23, 2014

        A428 should have fly over along A1 at black cat and dual all way to Caxton. M11 extended to A1m at alconbury to relieve the A14 which should be uplifted as M6 or A14m all the way from Rugby to Felixstowe.

        The a14 from Cambridge to Huntingdon could have a temporary fix of no lorries overtaking until the work is complete. I see frustration day in day out with their side by siding.

        Dual a47 from Leicester to Norwich with complete bypasses for Peterborough and kings Lynn that do not intersect local junctions like present ‘internal’ bypasses

  12. Liz
    July 22, 2014

    I agree with your suggestions re new motorways and also Old ALbion’s observations on speed limities on motorways and unclassified country lanes: one too low and the other too high. Something that would not costs money is to force utilities to co-operate over repairing/replacing their pipes/wires. Some roads in Wokingham have been dug up for years by one utility after another – often as soon as the road has been resurfaced.
    More by passes for market towns and villages are essential.

  13. alan jutson,
    July 22, 2014

    Where do you start with this !

    Agree with all of the points and suggestions you make, but at the moment we cannot/do not even keep the roads we have in a decent state of repair.

    Roadworks when they do happen seem to taker forever, miles and miles of roads coned off with no one working.
    Bodged up making good of potholes, which seem to re-appear just a few months later.
    Poor reinstatement after utilities have dug up roads, only for then to need complete resurfacing a few months later.
    Speed humps and speed cushions (what a strange word for a lump in the road) that are now in such a state of disrepair, that car suspension and tyres are wrecked.

    I hate to say it John, but Wokingham is a prime example of all of the above, with the added problem of far too many traffic lights.
    We even have traffic lights on mini roundabouts now, operating as they do for 24 hours a day, you can wait at them when the road is deserted.

    We do not have a traffic management system, we have a deliberate traffic obstruction policy.

    I like your thinking, but those who have control just want to slow everything down.

    1. Mark
      July 22, 2014

      There certainly needs to be a big change in how motorway improvements and repairs are managed. 20 mile sections at reduced speeds for two years or more at a time is grossly inefficient.

      1. Lifelogic
        July 23, 2014

        Well I am sure under Cameron the Highways agency are far more interested in the numbers of female, ethnic minorities, lesbian and gay members of the team doing the work and the (dreadful existing male bias) than they are in actually finishing the job.

        After they get no benefit from finishing it early. Roads are free at the point of use so you get the same dreadful level of service as the NHS. They give no compensation for the delays they cause.

        1. alan jutson,
          July 24, 2014


          Agreed when in France, Spain, and Portugal it was very noticeable that road works were far better managed, often with rolling traffic management, to avoid miles and miles of cones.

          In France last month they resurfaced a two mile stretch of what would be an A road here, in just a few days complete with all road markings.

          A team went in at night and did all of the preparation work over two nights.

          Then another team came in with all equipment, and completely resurfaced the road working non stop for 48 hours.
          White lines and markings were started at the start point 24 hours after they had started resurfacing and finished shortly after road surfacing had finished

          Traffic was controlled with rolling man management stop go signs. They did not cone off any part of the road at all so saved time putting them out and then collecting them.

          Similar experience in Spain a couple of years ago.

        2. Bazman
          July 25, 2014

          You want toll roads by his silly ranting then? You do but do not want to pay.

          1. lifelogic
            July 30, 2014

            We pay already.

  14. Ex-expat Colin
    July 22, 2014

    Double decked motorways, because expanding sideways is going to be near impossible. Not impossible I suppose…just another extended mess. Sounds like a joke?

    We have a road system that works (worked) to some extent. Ever decreasing extent that is. You list those that have needed upgrading for far too long. Enough time in fact for the latest bunch of dreamers to move in and forcefully open our borders. Lost count of the number of vehicles with a P prefix plate.

    Local roads need to be maintained properly and removing the large amount of closely repeating 50 signs with accompanying tarmac paintwork repeating the signs(art?) is a start. Street furniture madness. Much of the freight arriving at the ports needs to be on a railway that can cope, only the P plates (et al) won’t like that…will they?

    Add more taxes to the art/curse of owning and maintaining a vehicle and that might thin it all out a bit…fossil fuels with related hand wringers always able to advise.

    The M25 has junctions too close together. No surprise really with Heathrow/Gatwick in route. Try and change that…. again? Another ring road thru T. Wells?

    By the time major upgrades are accomplished I really do imagine the problem to be the same as now – and before. Nothing much ever seems to happen to source the cause of the problem. Anything that does get accomplished seems to have been overtaken by other major events…like the EU.

    Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow…same old, same old.

    Posting to your website..message:

    “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down”

    What..with me on Virgin ? Too quickly? Really!!

  15. Iain Gill
    July 22, 2014

    Well at the risk of stating the obvious the roads are another resource which would not be under such pressure if we did not have the ongoing large influx of immigration we are subjected to. It is no good imagining we can build our way out of large amounts of immigration and the associated problems.
    Moving onto specific projects then yes the A1 from Leeds to Edinburgh should be upgraded, we can leave the Scottish politicians to worry about the part of that North of the Scottish border though. Some of the old Concrete structures on which our road network depends are going to be end of life soon, we really should have a planned approach to replacing these bridges, flyovers, and the rest, rather than just waiting for them all to fail individually. Lots of the network needs repairs to road surfaces. The A69 should be upgraded too, a major East/West route badly in need up upgrade.
    We need to radically reassess our approach to roads though, we have allowed pseudo-scientific claptrap to enter the lexicon of the public sector and their road planning and engineering subcontractors.
    1 Those people and organisations which design accident blackspots should feel some pain. Some should be in court for causing death by incompetence, others should be failing KPI measures and getting contract penalties, etc. Deaths at obvious blackspots are the fault of the people who designed and approved those road designs, while currently it’s only ever the drivers who end up in court.
    2 Cyclists need to be policed properly, like most people I am tired of them being immune to road traffic laws.
    3 Drunken pedestrians are a major cause of road deaths, more could be done about this. Simple stuff like city centre taxi queues being physically separated from the main roads so that drunken pedestrians cannot mix with traffic as easily.
    4 The way drivers are policed and handled in our system and courts needs a radical fix. The training courses drivers are forced onto to avoid points are no better than a placebo half day doing anything that disrupts their diary, they are a complete nonsense and lots of the stuff trained is actively anti-social (like the way they train people to sit at a red light and refuse to move to let a blue light emergency vehicle behind through, this is an absolute disgrace). It is far too easy for safe decent people to get banned while driving safely. We need negative points for periods of safe driving, and other balances. And we need proper scientists to review the pseudo-scientific claptrap the public sectors uses to justify their stuff, lots of it is clear nonsense. The current setup where the myth that everything is the drivers fault is allowed to run riot with no balance is out of hand.
    5 Far too much signage overload in many places, there is no way anyone driving these roads for the first time could ever read all of the hundreds of signs down a short distance of road. There needs to be some common sense rules that forces the people putting the signs up to prioritise those signs most essential for that section of road, and reduce the number of signs a road user is expected to read to a manageable number.
    6 Stop the road thinning. Lots of congestion has been actively engineered to discourage road use. Ban road thinning on roads which are the major routes between centres of population and A & E departments etc especially.
    7 Speed limits to be set be independent advanced drivers, who have done significant safe miles, and not by politicians, civil engineers, or planners. Stop dropping speed limits arbitrarily, dual carriageways which have been national speed limit for decades should not be dropped to 40 or 30 on a politician’s whim. Stop the nutters trying to put permanent 60 and 50 limits on stretches of motorway.
    8 More policing by police officers, and far less by cameras. A ticket from a camera a long time after the event when you have no opportunity to gather the evidence for the circumstances is not justice. Stop prosecuting people going through a red light just to let an emergency vehicle through, this is a massive injustice and lacks any common sense. More traffic police are needed in bad weather, the police should staff traffic departments flexibly so that in foggy/snowy/etc weather traffic gets a higher priority and more resources.
    9 As I have said before most of the policies of abd.org.uk could and should be adopted by the Conservative party as common sense.

    1. Iain Gill
      July 25, 2014

      Oh yea and no more prosecutions from bus lane cameras, when you pull into a bus lane to let an ambulance through or similar

  16. Atlas
    July 22, 2014

    … well, all the potholes repaired would do for a start ! …

    1. Bazman
      July 22, 2014

      Cheaper to resurface in the long run. After the election.

  17. Alan Joyce
    July 22, 2014

    Perhaps HS2 should be scrapped and the £50billion used for the roads policy. That sum of money might repair many poorly maintained road in Britain and contribute to the new capacity needed in some areas.

    1. APL
      July 24, 2014

      Alan Joyce: “Perhaps HS2 should be scrapped and the £50billion used for the roads policy. ”

      There is plenty of money in the roads budged as it is. It’s just that the local authorities use it for vanity traffic calming or idealogical projects to discourage car use.

      By all means scrap HS2 – a vanity project if ever there was one.

  18. Iain Moore
    July 22, 2014

    The A303 improvement would have double the cost benefit return than Cameron’s expensive elitist HS2, to an area that is economically depressed. But clearly our needs don’t rate as we are probably not diverse or enriched enough to rate on the Noting-hill set’s list of priorities. We are also about as far away from Scotland as one can get in the UK, where all the political attention and money is being directed.

  19. stred
    July 22, 2014

    The completion of the A303 and A35 to the West is a problem that illustrates the political scene in the UK. For a lifetime the South has had no 20th or 21st century standard roads running East/West. The Ministry managed to complete some motorway and dual carriageway links in the 60s to 70s , but since then the planning procedures and nimbys have stoppped any further projects. Only minor traffic handling or safety ‘improvements’ have been completed and these seem to slow the journey even more.

    The A35 in Dorset runs through prime nimby land and is reduced to a dangerous two lane road with speed limits reducing as accidents increase. A road around Worthing would require a very long tunnel. The A303 has jams every day around Stonehenge and a slow stretch between Somerset and Honiton.

    The history of the Stonehenge section is a farce, only possible in the UK. This pile of stones, altered by the Victorians, might as well still be the centre of worship and culture for civilisation. Around 20 years ago, there was a plan to build a long tunnel in order that our present day Mother Earth worshippers would not be disturbed. Millions were spent on enquiries and in the end nothing went ahead, thankfully for the taxpayer. The problem, never fully publicised was not only the huge cost, but that safety measures would include permanent lighting and ventilation. In order to please the the Motherearthers, tons of CO2 would have to be produced in order to built it and keep it lit. Any thought of a simple dual carrigeway in a cutting was too distrespectful to the centre of Motherearth worship.

    And so, every day there are delays and queues of traffic, with lorries and cars belching out useless pollution and travellers have to weigh up whether to try the longer M5 and congestion around Bristol or the holdups on the 303. If it is sorted out by 2200 it would be surprising.

  20. william
    July 22, 2014

    Completion of a dual carriageway from Folkestone to Honiton, which would entail bypassing Arundel and Worthing, and a new road east of Lewes all the way to Dover. The South of England needs a road system as good as Scotland!

  21. Martin Collyer
    July 22, 2014

    John, I would suggest upgrading the A34 to a proper motorway, from it’s start in the South where it departs the M3 to it’s northern-most point where it intersects with the M40, south-West of Bicester.

    This would provide Southampton and Portsmouth, via the M27 and M3, with proper links to the centre of England.

  22. Leslie Singleton
    July 22, 2014

    In case some are misled, what you call the A1(M) is by no means at Motorway standards all the way–very far from it. Curiously, some but only a small part is four lanes Motorway standard whereas some is more like a country footpath, and with “soft verges” yet. The whole thing should be brought up to Motorway standard, as was once promised. At present it becomes clogged, with tailbacls and all the rest, as soon as the slightest stress comes in to play–every Friday afternoon for example. A completely new Motorway up the centre would be a good idea too, instead of course of the fatuous HS2.

    1. Mark
      July 22, 2014

      The A1 needs improving through much of its length – not just North of the new section past Wetherby, but North of Baldock. Then it could share the load more evenly with the M1 for traffic to Yorkshire and beyond from the South.

  23. Max Dunbar
    July 22, 2014

    Increase number and quality of rest stops on motorways. The existing arrangements are grossly inadequate and outdated.
    Properly co-ordinate road building and upgrading throughout the UK from Inverness to Exeter.
    Get rid of most of the pollution creating, time wasting and stress causing traffic lights. Improve those that remain with intelligent phasing and flashing amber at off-peak periods.

  24. Roy Grainger
    July 22, 2014

    A return of the cones hotline ?

    I doubt their are many votes to be won in roads policy and plenty to be lost to Nimby sentiment in Tory heartlands (South Coast) and from urban climate change fanatics of all political persuasions.

  25. JimS
    July 22, 2014

    What we DON’T need is the continual reduction of existing road capacity produced by chicanes, bus ‘boarders’, hatching, bollards and those ridiculous unused ‘cycle lanes’ that start and end in the middle of nowhere. While we are at it we can get rid of bus lanes, or at least get rid of the 4 mph bicycles that clog them up.

    Some sense from our politician is desperately needed. You have collectively encouraged the US life-style where people travel 20+ miles to work, shopping and leisure activities yet for some reason cycling is ‘to be encouraged’. Why? When the bike was king people lived a mile from work and shopped daily – a bike made sense. Now a few selfish people expect to others to look after their safety while they cause a rolling traffic block on 60 mph limited roads. They expect a shower to themselves at work and secure storage spaces too. The bicycle will NEVER be a practical means of transport for the masses again. It is a piece of sports and leisure equipment and like other sports and leisure activities should be carried off the roads and most definitely OFF THE PAVEMENTS!

  26. PayDirt
    July 22, 2014

    Every working day the M25 between the M3 and M4 junctions (and often M3 to M40) is chock-a-block. Although it is multi-lane, this a serious time waster for all traffic that use this section therefore a relief road is needed urgently.

  27. Dan H.
    July 22, 2014

    Alter the rules on fines for traffic and parking offences so that all such fines go to Central Government, not to local councils. At present many councils see parking fines as a way to increase council revenues. Removing this incentive would make these council try something else, such as building town centre carparks (with the revenue going to the council) which would act to make the towns nicer places to set up businesses.

  28. Bert Young
    July 22, 2014

    Two technical things : why is it that some responders can access your blog with their views throughout the day and I am only able to read the outcome the following morning ? and , why have I just been informed ” You are responding too quickly – slow down !” ? . A friend of mine in nearby Sonning has a similar problem . I have just posted my response today only to see it disappear ! . Basically what I said was -” reform the roads and get rid of HS2″ .

  29. Max
    July 22, 2014

    Upgrade the a69 Carlisle- hexam so it’s dual carriage all the way to newcastle. Dual A75 to Stranraer to dual carriageway

  30. Vanessa
    July 22, 2014

    Surely more freight should go on the new amazing HS 1,2,3, railways when they are not in use or are they too fast and dainty to deal with such enormous and essential traffic ?

    Our roads are horrendously congested as it is, I cannot imagine yet more horrors being trundled along them.

    1. BobE
      July 22, 2014

      Freight is not cost effective on trains in the UK. Because you have to truck the goods to the train. Then at the destination truck the goods to the destination. Its simpler and cheaper to truck from source to destination. Thats why you see our roads full of trucks hauling containers.
      Freight needs good multilane roads.

    2. Margaret
      July 23, 2014

      Yes I agree with this Vanessa. Freight carriages would be a definite advantage.

  31. Kenneth R Moore
    July 22, 2014

    I would like John Redwood and his like minded colleagues to knock on Mr Cameron’s door and tell him they will all resign if he doesn’t promise immediate action to reduce migration to sane levels. Tell if his constituents do not want a never ending stream of new housing proposals.
    Then I would like him to consider minor road improvement projects to meet any resulting SUSTAINABLE increases in traffic flow.

    1. Anonymous
      July 22, 2014

      5 million extra people in ten years has had little effect on road congestion.

  32. David Evans
    July 22, 2014

    Spot-on, roads are our economic arteries down which wealth should flow.
    The A12 from Ipswich to London and A120 require urgent development and both should be brought to Motorway standard. Parts of the A120 are still not even dualled.
    The A120 then needs continuing from Stansted/Bishops Stortford to Stevenage then across to Reading. The was the original plan from the 60’s and it then forms an outer ring around London and would relieve significant pressure from the M25 plus encourage economic activity between the major market towns and commercial centres that fall into the area.
    I can think of many villages and small towns in East Anglia that are desperate for ring roads. Having just returned from France am again puzzled how they can do it and make it simple and uncontroversial – and afford it. Yet here in the UK we seem to find it impossible, objectors, the loony left and loony Liberal pressure groups, meddling and inefficiency by planners and County Councils, and also the cost, why is it so expensive here whereas every other county can afford it, it needs a micro inspection on where the costs come from and some radical solutions.

  33. Rupert Butler
    July 22, 2014

    I live near Axminster, on the A35 which is the Westward extension of the South coast road you would improve only as far as Southampton. Instead of using the A35, I and everyone I know here drive 20 minutes North to catch the A303 to London. The A35 and the A303 effectively meet at Honiton. After Stonehenge, the worst part of the A30/303 is the first 15 miles East of Honiton, which I rarely use. For all that, I believe Honiton users prefer the A303 to the A35. Those 15 miles are very bad, but overall the equivalent 40-odd miles past Dorchester on the A35 are prospectively more tiresome for Honiton users.

    On the map, the A35 would be the better road. Even though the route is longer by 16 miles of the M3, the Honiton driver reaches the motorway for London after only 83 miles on the A35 as against 97 miles on the A303.

    However the A35 is usually more densely occupied than the A303, there are more single carriageways, they are more clogged, there seem to be more roundabouts and the flow through the roundabouts seems more disjointed.

    We in the peninsular seem to have established our claim for the improvement of the A303 that we use. I suspect that the short-range traffic around Bournemouth makes a better case to improve the A35 if only those affected realised it. Equally I suspect the capacity of the A35 Honiton to Bridport could be just as usefully improved as that of the A30/303 Honiton to Ilminster. If that is done, I think the peninsula’s preference for the A303 would evaporate.

    So I suggest your interest in consolidating the South Coast highway between Kent and Southampton should extend West towards Exeter. If this is what you mean by making more capacity for the M3 westwards, you are well ahead of me !

  34. a-tracy
    July 22, 2014

    If the Scots vote No let’s not bother with the A1M and concentrate English tax spending on England 🙂

    The M53/M56 could be connected to the M54 via Whitchurch/Chester, this would give faster Birkenhead, Holyhead transit times, improve links for Wales, take traffic off the M6 northbound for Runcorn, Chester, Liverpool areas.

    Norfolk and Suffolk are very poorly served especially the north of Norfolk, crossing from the M6 is horrendous and journey times are horrendous regularly five to seven hours from Crewe to Norwich just 200 miles.

    The Highways Agency are one of the main causes at the moment of poor transit times, Sunday 13th on the M6 northbound around Stoke there were warnings up queues ahead 40mph, there were no queues indeed the resultant heavy braking and slowing were dangerous and frustrating, three junctions later simply and End sign another driver told me they’d been like that unnecessarily since 7pm but where do you report such an incident and why are the gantry signs so wrong so often.

    If the M67 joined up to Sheffield that would make Sheffield, Lincoln, and even Nottingham so much better connected.

    The M1 Northampton / Luton horrendous.

    1. Mark
      July 22, 2014

      I get the impression that the Highways Agency are under orders to slow traffic on any route that might be served by HS2. They use their “train set” signs with no eye on what is happening, and they often create jams by slowing traffic needlessly.

  35. Lindsay McDougall
    July 22, 2014

    Between Basingstoke (J6) and Bagshot (J3), the M3 runs in parallel with the A30, which years ago was the old Winchester to London trunk road. Over the last 15 or so years, Hampshire County Council has converted much of the A30 east of Basingstoke from dual carriageway to single carriageway, hatching out vast tracts of perfectly good highway capacity and placing bollards in what used to be the outside lane. They haven’t even taken the opportunity to install a cycle lane.

    The effect has been a clear reduction in the overall M3/A30 corridor capacity. If you travel London bound in the morning on this stretch of M3, you will know that it is congested after 6.45 am. So the question occurs – what are the highway authorities playing at?

    Another worrying feature is the lack of co-ordination between the Highways Agency and the County on highway maintenance. Last winter, one evening at about 11.30, the A30 going east from Basingstoke was closed for maintenance. Never mind, I could use the M3. That too was under maintenance, with only one lane out of three open to traffic. Had there been a crash on that, the only route from Basingstoke to Hook would have been an unlit country lane running east from Old Basing. That would have been a rabbit killing exercise.

    The transport planning profession has taken to its heart the idea of ‘induced traffic’, that the provision of more highway capacity and better speeds leads to longer journeys, the selection of longer and faster routes, and more journeys. It might be more accurate to say that if extra capacity is NOT provided, the result is more congestion and the suppression of potential demand.

    What, I wonder, do they think the effect of HS2 will be on the volume of rail traffic? Either there will be a lot of ‘induced rail traffic’ or the thing will be a white elephant. And it’s not as if ordinary rail is environmentally friendly, let alone high speed rail. Because so many trains run fairly empty for social reasons, if a typical car carries 2 people, it is MORE environmentally friendly, in terms of emissions per passenger km, than rail.

  36. Lifelogic
    July 22, 2014

    Switching of all the traffic light actually improves traffic flows in many town and cities. This as the light are designed to restrict the circa 90% of traffic that uses the car by holding it up and causing congestion. In London traffic lights seem to double every 5 years or so with no benefit seen, quite the reverse on traffic flow.

  37. S Matthews
    July 22, 2014


    I think your ‘minimum’ is well below what is required, given the time it takes to get through planning permissions and the like.
    On the available evidence it would seem that there will be a revolution in personal transport within 20 years. Autonomous vehicles are happening now and will be a commercial reality in only a few years. Demand for road time/space is going to rise sharply. The money to be spent on HS2 should be shifted into a road building program. The ROI on building more road capacity will far exceed that of HS2, particularly when autonomous vehicles reduce demand on the railways.

  38. Worried of Wilmslow
    July 22, 2014

    Please don’t forget the pressing need for significant M6 widening from N of M6 Toll to Penrith. Also the NW Quadrant of the M60 needs major upgrade.

    Your list with these additions is insufficient to create the road network we need and already pay for many times over. A national strategy for transport, properly costed, is needed with the absurd subsidies and bias to major rail projects neutralised.

    Your previous suggestions about ownership/funding of roads ought to be considered as mainstream policy options.

    I hold out little hope with MPs using trains, the metropolitan civil servants rail-based and a general daftness about green policies. It would take a Gove or a Redwood in the next Government to effect such change and I don’t envisage that happening.

    1. Mark
      July 22, 2014

      It might help if M6 Toll carried the traffic it is capable of. That would entail taking over the near bankrupt Midland Expressway and ditching the toll. The only downside is that it would increase traffic on the East of Birmingham instead of doing M42/M5 to connect between M6 and M40.

  39. acorn
    July 22, 2014

    Southampton Docks to Northampton. A34 and A43 need upgrade to full motorway standard from M3 via M40 to M1 at Northampton.

    Plymouth A38 to Ashford M20. “M27 South Coast Motorway”. (A38, A35, M27, A27).

    JR, you can start as soon as you like on these.

  40. Jagman84
    July 22, 2014

    I would like to see a return to visible Police patrols, in order to detect and deter many of the bad driving habits we all see on a daily basis. “Safety” cameras are only speed focused and rarely detect reckless drivers. I agree with Old Albion regarding speed limits. Blanket speed reductions seem to be a Socialist council concept with no regard given to road layout or degree of urbanisation.

  41. BobE
    July 22, 2014

    Convert the A34 to be a motorway.
    Connect Dover to the M27 and then a link up to the new M34.
    Trucks can then miss the M25 and will ease congestion on it.

  42. Robert Taggart
    July 22, 2014

    Regarding your final sentence Johnny – here, here, here.

    Our choice for major new road project ? – the M5-M6 Birmingham / Black Country Western Motorway Bypass.

  43. M Davis
    July 22, 2014

    First and foremost: Repair the roads we have and keep them repaired. Then and only then, spend money on the roads that benefit most from, firstly trade and then tourism.

    That, from someone who uses public transport!

  44. The PrangWizard
    July 22, 2014

    This a second attempt. My first was greeted with the message “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down” and my comment disappeared, so I share with ‘Ex-Pat Colin’

    I’d extend the south coast route to Bournemouth, upgrade the A34 from Winchester to the M40 maybe running a new section alongside the M40 to join with the A43 at Chieveley, so through traffic would not need to join the M40, and upgrade the A43 too to the M1, to achieve an uninterrupted motorway route to and from the north and east midlands of England all the way to the Southampton. The M3 between Southampton and Winchester will need widening as part of this.

    Other things I had written have been covered in one way or another so I won’t repeat them, principally they concerned the poor quality of maintenance, and especially potholes repair.

    1. The PrangWizard
      July 24, 2014

      I imagine my error has been spotted, but I meant Cherwell Valley, not Chieveley.

  45. MikeP
    July 22, 2014

    In no particular order of priority some proposals for roads, their users and signs:
    – yes dual the A303/A30 as far as the M5
    – an extension of the M6 toll to create additional north/south capacity (eg motorway-ise the A34 and/or lane-controlled conversion of the M6 to use the hard shoulder at busy periods
    – how about continuing the A329(M) over the Thames to link up with the M40 ?
    – speed limit on motorways raised to 80mph to be more consistent with the Continent
    – mandatory posting of speed signs on the front and back of speed cameras and a public information campaign to remind drivers of the speed limits on different classes of road. On a Speed Awareness course I (unfortunately) had to attend, only 3 out of 20 attendees got all the speeds correct (I was one of the 3) and that’s why people slow down (often dangerously as other drivers aren’t expecting it) to 30 or 40mph at a speed camera, even on open country roads with a 60 limit
    – nationwide roll-out of “Merge in Turn” signs when dual carriageways change to single carriageway or when motorway lanes are closed to increase use of both lanes up to the restriction and to reduce road rage and other ignorant behaviour, accompanied by a public information campaign
    – a blitz on badly pot-holed roads and crumbling road edges with no kerbs
    – an equally earnest drive to cut back overgrown hedgerows, verges and trees that interfere with drivers’ view on open country roads – you could start with the road near you between Arborfield Cross and Shinfield. Did you know a Reading Councillor has explained the lack of verge mowing to be in response to Alan Titchmarsh’s belief that we should let them grow (uncontrollably?) to preserve nature’s habitats. Since when was he elected to represent us ?
    – better implementation of roadworks (research needed from the TRRL) so that when temporary cats eyes and cones stuck to the road are burnt off or unstuck they don’t ruin the surface and need repairs a year later; is this a tarmac industry’s gravy train or what ?
    – a commitment to reduce the number of poorly performing traffic light junctions in favour of roundabouts
    – tightening up of fraudulent driving tests taken by substitute drivers, that put potentially lethal drivers on our roads
    – increased efforts to bring “under-taking” drivers and motor cyclists to book
    – a grant to any town council prepared to act as a pilot site for removal of all traffic lights, a return to belisha beacon pedestrian crossings and much-reduced interfering signage
    – use of overhead display signs on motorways to provide more driving tips. We have made progress on drink/driving and “take a rest when tired”, but what about reminders on undertaking being an offence as well as dangerous, and returning to the inside lane to reduce lane hogging and increase capacity.
    – reversal of hatched markings that remove lanes on dual carriageways (eg M4/M25 intersections), Nanny state getting in the way of originally designed road layout and capacity.

    1. Mark
      July 22, 2014

      When you have slow moving traffic in the inside lane it doesn’t take long before returning to it after overtaking starts to cause reduced traffic flow as traffic density increases. The reason is that you need a space to pull out into the next lane at the right moment to be able to do so at the speed of the lane. If that isn’t available, you end up with insufficient speed when changing lanes, forcing other traffic to brake. This can create a full scale traffic jam. By encouraging traffic to spread across the lanes, larger gaps between vehicles make lane changing easier when needed. By maintaining lane speed, traffic moves smoothly, and doesn’t create traffic jams. Heavy traffic in the left hand lane can cause problems for joining traffic at junctions too: it should be a matter of courtesy to move out where possible to allow joining traffic to blend smoothly.

  46. Freeborn john
    July 22, 2014

    The A329(m) should be extended southbound from its present terminus between Wokingham and Bracknell to join up with M3 and the A3(m). I would be interested to know how a local MP sees the politics of such a road which would be an economic boom to the region but no doubt stir up the nimbys. I also see that in recent years there have been some major house building schemes at the current southern end of the a329(m) on the outskirts of Wokingham which I feel are shortsighted as they would appear to make future extension of this motorway around the west of Bracknell and then south towards the M3 more difficult.

    1. MikeP
      July 24, 2014

      …. not to mention add a few hundred extra cars onto already congested roads in and around the town

  47. Cary
    July 22, 2014

    I agree with the idea of improving the road network, but the emphasis needs to be away from roads into London; like HS2, that will simply feed the beast and further unbalance economic activity towards the all seeing eye in the South East. The M6 around Birmingham is a prime candidate for action. Some of the suggestions are good but difficult; dual lanes for the A303 will require some potentially controversial village bypasses.

  48. ian
    July 22, 2014

    Road to nowhere, bottle it.

  49. Mark
    July 23, 2014

    I did a journey late at night at the weekend. Even the M25 had almost no traffic on it – yet it would surely have been an ideal time to encourage trucks and reduce the daytime load on our roads. Trucks contribute disproportionately to road wear, which increases with the fourth power of axle weight. It is also notable that foreign trucks are very often involved in motorway accidents, and contribute disproportionately to congestion (especially when overtaking on a busy motorway). To help deal with these observations, I think we should move to a vignette system of taxation for trucks, so that foreign vehicles pay their share. The charge for visiting trucks could include a lump sum, partly rebated if they fill up in the UK and thus pay duty and VAT, as well as a charge per mile for all trucks. Nighttime use of the motorways (say 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.) would also attract a rebate. Daytime overtaking by trucks would be banned.

    Perhaps we even need to consider truck lanes, separated from the rest of the traffic. These would allow better use of the road space for cars, which could be allowed a higher speed limit, as there would be less risk from traffic travelling at significantly different speeds.

    Aside from beefing up the missing links in the motorway system, there is an urgent need for a fuller programme of resurfacing and improvements in the non-motorway network, which has been neglected and hobbled for far too long. We should also get rid of the delays caused by toll queues (Dartford, M4 Wales, etc.).

    Let’s not forget that the best substitute for travel is jobs, schools and shopping and leisure on your doorstep. The internet can help, but measures to spread economic activity need to include a halt to attacking the non-London economy via expensive energy, inadequate schooling, etc.

  50. Mark W
    July 23, 2014

    Temporary traffic lights.

    Have them manually controlled 24/7 by law. Most would be set up later taken down earlier, if this was the case. Standing all night toggling a switch would provide human insentive to take the damn things down which are in most cases not necessary.

  51. Mark W
    July 23, 2014

    Initially a reply but will repost in its own:

    A428 should have fly over along A1 at black cat and dual all way to Caxton. M11 extended to A1m at alconbury to relieve the A14 which should be uplifted as M6 or A14m all the way from Rugby to Felixstowe.

    The a14 from Cambridge to Huntingdon could have a temporary fix of no lorries overtaking until the work is complete. I see frustration day in day out with their side by siding.

    Dual a47 from Leicester to Norwich with complete bypasses for Peterborough and kings Lynn that do not intersect local junctions like present ‘internal’ bypasses.

  52. Peejos
    July 23, 2014

    Carry out scientific analysis of traffic congestion caused by motorway speed limit signs. Time and time again a mass of assorted vehicles creep along at 15mph enveloped on a cloud of toxic fumes only to be released by a series of steadily increasing speed signs after ten minutes when the road ahead is empty. Traffic analysis and projection needs complete rethinking, in the way that air traffic controllers have done. We have had motorways for half a century and the system and mind set is still locked in that past

  53. Alan Knell
    July 23, 2014

    Repair what we have; wherever possible, build flyovers over roundabouts on major roads; upgrade all single carriageway main roads linking motorways; upgrade the A14 to motorway – and lots more.
    But the big investment should be rail freight. “Get loads off the roads” is in the interest of all except the road haulage industry.

    1. a-tracy
      July 23, 2014

      Don’t you think its the Haulage industry paying through excise duty, taxes, paye taxes, employers ni, fuel tax that keeps the roads open? if you took freight off the roads do you think the average Jo will pay enough tax on their cars and petrol to keep Britain’s road systems rolling? Can you imagine ‘Just in Time’ deliveries when dependent on a small cohort of Railway workers and railway yard workers who would work to their own schedules.

      How will you get fuel to fill up your own cars? If no tankers use the roads?
      Do you remember what it was like before transport was set free in this Country and 3-5 day delivery was about the quickest you could get.

      Not even the Post Office could make rail freight movement work and closed down their mail trains Google it if you don’t believe me. We all benefit when our areas are opened up by new transport links. If any rail priority is afforded it should be linking up low employment areas like Burnley and Accrington with Manchester City Centre. Linking up large rural towns with pockets of unemployment with smaller Cities like Chester on metro links. If rail transport is cost effective then Haulage companies will be using them, you can be sure of that, because margins are low.

  54. Bazman
    July 23, 2014

    Where is my flying car?

    1. MikeP
      July 24, 2014

      If a scheme of monorails could be erected above some of our motorways and other trunk routes, operating like the business parking personal pods to/from Heathrow T5, I for one would be on them like a shot !

  55. Kevin Caudwell
    July 24, 2014

    If it was up to me I would make increasing capacity of the road network my number one priority for the government.

    There are probably millions of people who get stuck in an hours worth of traffic jams every day. This means parents not with their children, employees not working, waste of effort and fuel.

    I think politicians should value the time of citizens as highly as possible since it is the most precious commodity we have (even if it is squandered on Eastenders)

    Everyone knows where the congestion is. Every new road should be designed for capacity of the future (e.g. twice as much traffic as we have now) and I’m sure it is cheaper in the long run to build am extra lane now when a road is being developed rather than having to return to it in the future.

    This is one area where politicians really can make a difference to the quality of life of their voters.

  56. Mickledo
    July 26, 2014

    Any road improvements would need funding.
    However, there is a source of income which this country chooses to ignore.
    I have just returned from a drive across Europe and paid out a considerable amount of money for the pleasure, in the form of road tolls and vignettes.
    Whether we like it or not we are members of the EU where everything is meant to be standardised and equal.
    So why is it that I have to pay to use European roads while our fellow Europeans can drive straight off the ferries and use our roads for nothing?
    The inevitable excuse of “it will cost too much to administer” will not hold water.
    The collection of a fee from foreign vehicles couldn’t be easier as they all enter via a limited number of ports or the tunnel.
    This extra revenue stream would address an imbalance that should not exist within the Union that we belong to and could at least fund the resurfacing of our neglected roads, which are appalling in comparison with roads on the continent.
    It is worth noting that the Germans have finally got fed up with the same situation and are implementing a charging scheme on their roads in 2016.

  57. Maureen E
    August 2, 2014

    There are good amount of ideas and comments here but only a few and not enough consideration
    given to pollution.
    When I wrote to you (John Redwood) about problems we have in our locality regarding Wokingham Borough Council’s decision to
    replace a roundabout to traffic lights to take in consideration of population increase due to newer housing development you replied with:

    The comments you highlight are for Councillors, and are not within my own powers and duties.

    No other comments from you regarding also what I sent to you for consideration
    for our area in smaller scale, Poynton Regenerated:


    Reply I do agree with you that there are too many traffic light sets in our area, and think more roundabouts would work better. I agree with the campaigners against the new lights Reading has placed at Shinfield on the A 327. I have suggested to Wokingham Borough that they replace the lights at the top of Broad Street with a roundabout, and they are working on that idea. I also have asked them to review the lights on the roundabouts at Winnersh for the junction with the A 329 M.

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