Strategic highways

I met Highways England yesterday to talk about the state of the national network.

A successful modern economy needs sufficient motorway capacity to allow easy transport of goods and people. Motorways are our safest and fastest roads. Like railways they segregate traffic moving in opposite directions to avoid head on crashes, and like railways they prevent pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable users from using them. Their junctions can flow freely, with easy access and exit when capacity allows. Motorway travel should allow greater levels of fuel efficiency and improved journey times.

Highways England controls most of our motorways and our major trunk roads. Most of the roads it looks after are dual carriageway or better. Many have grade separated interchanges. The problem is we do not have enough principal route capacity. We have invited in many more people who need roads for their own travel and for the supply of the goods they need. As our economy and the individuals in it enjoy rising real incomes so they can afford to spend more and need more goods supply. We need to be realistic about the amount of capacity we need.

In my local area Highways England has just increased capacity on the eastern part of the M3 by 33% and plans to do the same for the eastern section of the M4. We also lack north-south capacity. There the A 34 trunk experiences congestion as lorries struggle with inclines, whilst we do not have a good sized bridge over the Thames to the east of Reading.

Nationally there are various routes that lack sufficient capacity. We need a better south coast highway, better links to the east coast ports, a completed dual carriageway to the south west on the A 303 and similar extra capacity in the North and Midlands.

Highways England pointed out that there is now more money for road improvement, and the government does understand the need for more capacity. I would be interested to hear your priorities for improvement.

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  1. oldtimer
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    As the government is hell bent on banishing the internal combustion engine, does the highways agency have any responsibility for providing the means to recharge the batteries on which everyone will then depend? If so, what are they doing about it?

    • Alison
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      I don’t know what the govt is doing about it, but I do know there are implications for the electricity grid, and consumption planning/modelling. I do wish there weren’t so many non-UK electricity utility companies. The ability to manage/work with electricity grids is surely a major strategic capability.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        The cabling systems on modern estates will also struggle to supply multiple homes trying to charge vehicles at several kilowatts each.
        We are already near 95% capacity for electricity generation capability in winter months.
        With fossil fuel power stations closing and demand rising this problem will come to a head soon.

        • Hope
          Posted June 7, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          The answer to the overwhelming incompetence of your govt ministers is to tax us more to deceive us into showing that they care. No matter how much we are taxed May will be underhand and untrustworthy. She has and is doing everything possible through Robbins to keep the U.K. As a vassal state in the EU. There can be no doubt. Grayling is useless, no matter what we are taxed he will remain useless. Hunt wants to tax us more for his incompetence and inability to charge for the World Health Service. More tax will not change his incompetence. Hammond graphically demonstrated at his first budget how incompetent he was and how he wanted to stop self employed strivers from building businesses. His Treasury are unfit for purpose as are the useless quangos of ONS and OBR. They add nothing, just increases our tax bill. Overseas aid just grabs tax and pisses it down the drain without any benefit for any citizen in this country, wevwere wven to,d it would cut immigration! Lies. European Development Fund costs us an additional £3.75 billion in tax and is of no use to us. However, some of the EU bill cost is estimated at about £20 billion, because no one can say in govt accurately the true cost, probably a KitKat policy like immigration to fool the plebs, does go on roads, but in Eastern and Southern European countries!

          You need to start explaining fast why you are allowing May and Hammond to write and keep secret her white paper to keep the U.K. In the EU by her KitKat policy procedure. The plebs are becoming restless with this lying underhand PM who is unable to keep her word on anything about leaving the EU. The only discussion on roads should be her sacking and being sent up the road with her P45. No matter how much we are taxed she will be still try to keep us in the EU by being underhand, untrustworthy and incompetent.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 7, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          Indeed get the green crap priest and pathetic politicians out and get some decent engiineers in.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Hopefully not. Until battery technology make a significant leap in range, cost, recyling, weight and more rapid charging times we are better off with hybrids, petrol, diesel or Gas. Perhaps using electric only in the towns.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        ‘the UK expects the future arrangement to be in place by December 2021’…

        Totally worthless piffle from the disaster T May!

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      A single solar panel on the car roof will do the job. Plus a wind turbine.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Sure, or a jib and mainsail and some tacking up wind on rather wider motorways!

      • Georgy Llewor
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        A solar panel to start moving, and then the wind mini-turbine to provide the energy from the motion of the car. Brilliant!
        You should pair with Adam: two brilliant minds, that’s what we need for a successful Brexit.

    • David D
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Electric cars don’t have the range or quick refueling to cope with transport as it actually is, as opposed to how it is in the minds of techno idiots and politicians that never leave London. The batteries are so polluting when made and so short lived as to be worse than any diesel. A company I know had an electric van, after 5 years the batteries were useless and new ones so expensive the van was a write off. So instead of a potential 10-20 year vehicle lifespan we now see a 5 year lifespan. Very good for manufacturers and tax collectors, not very good for us. Yes another eco con.

  2. Freeborn John
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    The major missing link is a quality road between Southampton and Bath & Bristol. The inadequate A36 and truly deplorable north-south alternatives like the A350 to Poole mean that traffic between the South Coast ports to the midlands or Wales is all going on a lengthy detour via the A34 contributing to its congestion.

    The A329(M) should also be extended South from its current terminus in Bracknell to the M3,A3(M) and Gatwick.

    Highways England are not responsible for some of the roads that should be strategic. There seems to be confusion between a busy road (which they call ‘strategic’) and routes like Solent to Bristol which they regard as non-strategic and undeserving of funds because they are under-utilised due to the terrible state of the current road. A strategic road should be one that opens up a region.

    Posted June 7, 2018 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    I have a theory. Well, it’s more than a theory. I call it the spending-political difficulty relationship

    A PM will be more likely to increase state spending on areas that present political difficulties

    Therefore this PM will waste money on the NHS not because it needs it (it doesn’t need it) because she thinks this will dampen the wailing and screeching from a privileged unionised vested interest namely the ‘NHS worker’. Fewer NHS cries of poverty in the media equals minimal damage to the PM.

    May’s just another grubby statist politician sacrificing the interests of the private sector taxpayer on the altar of political expediency and the public sector.

    Roads investment is simply not a political priority even if it is an economic and social priority. There’s no votes in roads

    Yes, we have a government and a PM who are directionless, valueless, unprincipled and deeply unpalatable.

    All roads lead to Brussels

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Indeed spending priories are totally wrong. The NHS, the police, the transport department (HS2 is a sick joke), the greencrap energy department, the home office, the treasury, overseas aid, social services ….. all waste money hand over fist and deliver very little of real value for the money they get, sending mainly in totally the wrong areas. Plus on top of that they regulate idiotically this making the private sector waste time and money on top too. May’s moronic gender pay reporting drivel for example, or workplace pensions, or the apprenticeship tax schemes, or the generally lunatic tax system.

    • JoolsB
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Hear Hear. And let’s not forget the ridiculous abitrary £20 billion in foreign aid by the end of this parliament just so they can feel good.

      • Adam
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 6:27 am | Permalink

        When control is loose it turns to loss.

  4. JimS
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    We have invited in many more people who need roads for their own travel and for the supply of the goods they need.

    ‘We’ as politicians. ‘We’, as the people, keep saying “No thanks!”

    • Adam
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      A reduced population would ease road flow & many of the other over-demanded services.

  5. Richard1
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Potholes on secondary roads are a major hazard. I think money earmarked for grands projets like HS2 would be much better spent eg widening the M11 or heavily used roads like the A14 – which will see a huge increase in volumes from Felixstowe after all these new trade deals are signed…

    • Bob
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink


      “Potholes on secondary roads are a major hazard.”

      Spare a thought for those employed making spare parts for vehicle suspension systems, tyres and wheel rims.

  6. Alison
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    That is all cogent, but my priorities for improvement would be (1) protect our green spaces, which are beautiful … Balance it carefully. I spent many childhood years not far from Henley on T, and am shocked whenever I return at all the building in the countryside. Also, traffic is noisy. (2) Think forward decades when planning the roads and highways, for example, consider what infrastructure needs come and will come with more electric vehicles. Btw I saw that China is building a highway which charges electric vehicles as they drive along it (I think using solar power).

    Off topic, apologies. Predictably, we are at a profoundly critical moment. Mrs May and her team are not behaving with decency. Aside from the cloak and daggers aspect, to omit an end date in the back stop agreement is devious, in my opinion actually evil, selfish, and totally contrary to our people’s interests. It is certainly not delivering Brexit.

    You can see what they are doing – keep us tied in, no end date, make the provisions very difficult to reverse, have the next general election, and hope that whoever wins will adjust things so that the UK gets fully tied in again. Well, they are not going to win.

    In the meantime, they are condemning our government and economy to paralysis.

  7. Nig l
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Good, we need positive input from people like you. Yes the M3 both at Woking and joining the M25 has made a real difference and the elongated run off at Woking should be a model everywhere because without it the traffic slows, people are in wrong lanes etc. A3 junction 10 and M23 Gatwick turnoff are in need of the same solution and no doubt your correspondents will know of others.

    Can entries be improved? M25 Jct 15 as an example.

    Yes please, the equivalent of ‘vehicle lent’ lanes really needed, the west side of Heathrow
    And around Clacketts to the east as examples.

    Yes A27 really poor for a major arterial road. If there is money, flyover the myriad of roundabouts, eliminate ridiculous traffic light entries such as at Shoreham and get on with unbroken dual carriage behind Worthing/Arundel etc.

    The other aspect is can police etc clear incidents more quickly? Obviously where air ambulances, resurfacing needed, evidence gathering etc, it will take time but are they looking at best practice across the world?

    For instance screening off incidents obviously where possible. Rubbernecking especially from the opposite carriageway a major cause of slowdowns. Screen it off so nothing to see.

    Please keep,us updated on these issues.

    Ps looked like a good turn out at the IOD last night. Were you there? Really good Tory views espoused. Thank goodness and a clear message to Hammond and May, I hope.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Nig1. Yes A27 been a disaster area for years now but just like anything in this country it takes an age to even get a starter for ten. Meanwhile the world marches along happily without us.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Well let us hope the government does finally understand the need for more capacity. For about 40 years the government policy has generally been to block the roads and mug/tax motorists to the hilt. This while promoting trains, trams, bikes and buses with taxpayer subsidies. This while failing totally to provide adequate road capacity for cars and trucks which are vital to the economy. Hammond endless complains about productivity, sitting in jams is not very productive. Not is coping with excessive taxation, daft regulations and absurdly complex taxation.

    The government as usual are the problem.

    • Peter
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      It is all very well having better, faster motorways, but as soon as traffic reaches a city like London it grinds to a halt. It can easily take ninety minutes to get from one side of London to the other.

      So a road traffic policy for metropolitan areas needs to be considered at the same time as the motorway network.

      • a-tracy
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        So create big multi-story car parks on the outskirts with their own tube stops.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        Indeed you need better roads, overpasses and underpasses in the towns too and more parking. You can go up or go underground where needed.

        Also reduce the absurd up to 15% stamp duty rates so people can move nearer to work!

    Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:02 am | Permalink


    This is utterly irrelevant to what we face now

    We have a PM who is now opposed to the UK leaving the EU

    The Northern Ireland time-limit thrown out of the window

    Brexit is almost doomed and you’re writing articles about motorways

    Democracy is under attack from a pro-EU political and administrative class

    Either confront Theresa May or openly commit to the UK staying in the EU

    • Peter
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      The same Brexit commentary every day just becomes tiresome. I grant that it is a bigger issue than most others, but if there is nothing new to say then it is best to keep quiet.

      Meanwhile, there are developments around David Davis that may be newsworthy in due course.

      • Andy
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear – you’ll have Brexit commentary everyday for the rest of your life.

        In the meantime I notice the inept David Davis can’t even resign properly.

        And he is one of the most competent Brexiteers.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 7, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          It seems we have a vaguely worded, pathetic fudge for a 2021 backstop date!

          Totally worthless, like just like T May & P Hammond. Another kick in the teeth for the sound conservative voters and wing. No change no chance. She is at least as bad and as unelectable as John Major was after his ERM fiasco.

          What she should have said:-

        • Blue and Gold
          Posted June 7, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

          Andy, just let’s rejoice at the thought of all these Brexmoaners being angry, red-faced, fists clenched banging on the table.

          They are like the Liverpool goalkeeper, watching Brexit slip through their fingers.

      • mancunius
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        But there is something new to say – this is the day on which it has become clear that the government will sacrifice any and all national independence on the altar of party-political expediency. The UK will be tied to the EU’s apron strings for ever.
        David Davis has already said he’ll be going after March 2019 – whether he stays or goes now is irrelevant. May’s covert remain ploy has worked.
        As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has just written in the DT business section:
        “The quixotic bid for British independence has failed. There will be no return to full sovereign and democratic self-rule in March 2019, or after the transition, or as far as the political eye can see. Britain will be bound and hemmed until the latent contradictions of such a colonial settlement cause a volcanic national uprising, as they surely must. The Westminster class is edging crablike towards a double embrace of the EU single market and the customs union, the full EU package…”

        I’d definitely call that newsworthy.

    • Jonp
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Not so DUNCAN..brexit is under attack from the Capitalist classes..otherwise the international Bilderburgers who see the future in a different way…Brexit would be contrary to the New World Order ie.the EU…democracy is only there as a pretend idea put out to appease the masses…

      • Mitchel
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        It’s not the true capitalist classes it’s the corporate socialist clique.

    • Jonp
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink you don’t know that the 2018 bilderburg meeting is on going now in Turin Italy..and that our own Mark Carney BoE is in of the agenda for them this year is..the rise of populism in europe

      • getahead
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        And long may it reign. It is time the elites were brought down to earth.

  10. niconoclast
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    O for a world where politicians do not think it is their business to concern themselves with the highways but just concentrated on things the State should be doing like protecting citizens from crime ( ha ha) ,defending them from foreign aggressors (ditto) . To dream the impossible dream I guess…

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for the reminder. Although I would add education and certain services

      • niconoclast
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        Education?! That’s the Number One thing the State should have Nothing Whatsoever to do with! ‘I believe the children are our future’ -in which case you want to put the very future survival of the human race in the hands of bureaucrats and statist change agents – unionised teachers with agendas as big as their pay cheques, emoluments, de facto sinecures and tenures lol ?!

        And ‘certain services’ is way too vague.

  11. Leslie Singleton
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Dear John–Mysteries to me are why the A12 was not turned in to a Motorway years ago and why the M11 hasn’t been extended those last few miles in to the City and perhaps beyond. Not so easy in our historic Cities, but one solution in America is to build Freeways through the middle of Cities, one (with an odd number like all N-S Freeways) North-South and one East- West. Given that Cities are unnatural horrible places anyway, Yes, that does mean that a good chunk of the City can be demolished, which again helps alleviate the present SWOT desirous of getting in and out.

  12. formula57
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Consensus on priorities is probably well-enough developed but I would expect it includes:

    – the A14 (from the south eastern ports through Cambridge to the Midlands) and,
    – as you note, the A303 serving Wessex.

  13. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    With all that’s going on with brexit do I really want to talk about ROADS??!!

    • Gary C
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      @ Fedupsoutherner

      Re: ‘With all that’s going on with brexit’

      Quite simply put we are being sold down the river, treacherous politicians are pulling their party’s apart instead of working for their country.
      Our kind and very optimistic host is obviously not being listened to and TM has succeeded in making the UK a laughing stock in the worlds eyes.
      The people voted to leave lock stock and barrel, sadly I doubt that will happen.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        Gary c. Yes, we will be in a worse position than if we hadn’t bothered to vote in the first place.

  14. Lifelogic
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile the appalling disasters of T May/P Hammond are it seems is about to achieve their goal of Brexit means absolutely nothing at all. So what are the sensible wing of the Tories going to do about this? No change no chance and we might have to suffer the even worse Corbyn.

    • getahead
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      ninoclast, I understand what you are saying but surely highways are a government problem. Whilst I agree that there are other pressing matters, travelling is an issue that affects most of the population and most businesses.

      • niconoclast
        Posted June 9, 2018 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        Highways are a problem created by government so in that sense they are a government problem. The government creates four thousand holes in Blackburn Lancashire -ergo it is a government problem! How about gov not doing that in the first place?

        Can you name a single thing government has done right? The things it is supposed to do, law and order to name one of the few it doesn’t do, yet a thousand and one things it has no business doing it does.

  15. Richard1
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Re yesterday’s subjects, if Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph is correct -and it looks like he is – it would be better to abandon Brexit and canxel Article 50 than accept this:-

    Weep for Brexit: the British dash for independence has failed

    • Richard1
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Perhaps this piece is exaggerated or not fully informed as to what Mrs May is doing and saying. But if this is correct and we are to be in vassal state status in October then there should be a second referendum in time to cancel Article 50 before March 29th 19. Cancellation on March 28th will do. Staying a voting member of the EU will definitely be better than this outcome. If Brexit supporting Conservative MPs want to avoid that outcome they need to move quickly to head it off.

      • alan jutson
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        Richard 1

        No need for a second referendum, we just need a leader who believes in leaving properly.

        The Eu will never take us back on the old terms with rebates, so forget that option.

        • getahead
          Posted June 7, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

          alan, we haven’t left yet.

      • eeyore
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Talking of strategic highways, better to cancel the A50 and leave Derby marooned than cancel A50. If you want to find out what a real punishment beating is, have another referendum and return on your knees to your continental masters, begging for mercy.

      • Chris
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        I cannot for the life of me understand why Tory Brexiter MPs do not act to uphold democracy. The behaviour of Tory MPs had left me incredulous and utterly disgusted.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Richard 1

      The headline is wrong.

      The British dash for independence has NOT failed, just once again we have been let down by our totally useless politicians and civil servants.

      Maybe NOW we will all stop voting for this. Its our fault… we keep electing them

      • David Price
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        Who do you suggest as an alternative?

        • getahead
          Posted June 7, 2018 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

          David, the party that brought Brexit about still exists. True, the mighty Nigel Farage is no longer party leader but we have a new very competent one in Gerard Batten. UKIP’s conservative manifesto remains unchanged. All those UKIP voters who trusted the Tories to deliver Brexit need to return to UKIP and let’s see if we can sort out the mess that Theresa’s government as put us in.
          John please join us.

          • David Price
            Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

            Lots of different people contributed to bringing Brexit about and a great dis-service is done to them by the persistent claim that only one group is responsible. In any event past election performance suggests the party you identify is not a viable alternative – why vote for a slightly different flavour of disunited group of politicians than any other.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        Actually, most of us don’t keep electing them (68% of those who voted in the 2017 GE cast a vote that counted for nothing), they keep getting back in because of a FPTP system that fails to reflect the expressed wishes of the electorate, something many of them are committed to defend (I wonder why?).

    • Mark B
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 5:33 am | Permalink

      Utter tosh !

      You cannot cancel an Art.50. PERIOD !!

  16. alan jutson
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    I certainly agree the A34 needs to be made into 3 lanes, with just two lanes we have had severe congestion and a large number of fatal accidents involving lorries over the years.

    Aware we have a split responsibility with road maintenance between Highways and Local Authorities, but can we have a joined up thinking resurfacing/repair programme, so many roads are now becoming dangerous given the size and number of potholes.

    Can we also have a properly supervised programme of making good after utilities have dug up roads to access cables and pipes, so often after only a short time such re-instatement is simply just failing, how about putting a guarantee of two years fit for purpose on such works otherwise they come back at their expense, and the two-3 years starts again.
    Same for pothole repairs and 5 years for normal normal resurfacing where new tarmac often simply peels off after a year due to poor preparation.

  17. Lifelogic.
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Hiking taxes to splurge on the dysfunctional disaster that is the NHS would be another massive mistake. Doubtless therefore that is what May and Hammond intend to do. They seem to delight in being wrong on every single issue.

    • mancunius
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      It is what Justin Welby wants, and his opinion is always an infallible guide as to what not to do.

  18. Adam
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Priorities for Improvement:

    Arrange motorways with their opposite faster lanes furthest apart, & the slow nearside lanes closest, separated by a shared safety stop lane.

    Avoid having the then redundant, expensive & obstructive central barrier.

    Usable road space increases by 33% without widening, yet Govt remains wastefully unaware.

    • Beecee
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Oh dear, you really must learn to think things through!

      As many have said previously to your mad cap idea – the carnage as slow traffic crosses from the ‘slow’ lane via the ‘fast’ lane in order to enter and exit the motorway will be horrendous. Trucks, for example, are not allowed in the ‘fast’ lanes of motorways with 3 or more lanes.

      • Adam
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink


        Your criticism applies only to your false assumption.

        Entry to & entry from the improved motorway is via the left lane.

        • alan jutson
          Posted June 7, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink


          I though you wanted the left lane to be the fast/overtaking lane ?

          • Adam
            Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

            alan jutson & Beecee:

            The left lane is the slow lane. If you have further query, I’ll reply to explain.

        • Beecee
          Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

          By your definition – the fast one is the left lane!!!!!!!

    • David Price
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      According to GOV statistics on vehicles involved in reported road accidents (RAS20), the accident rate per billion miles travelled for Vans, LGVs and HGVs combined (251) is greater than for cars (191) while motorcyles are the worst (1060).

      Vans, LGVs and HGVs predominate in the slower lanes so at first blush you wouldn’t want to put the most accident prone closer together with no barrier between.

      • Adam
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        David Price:

        The improvement adds 33% road surface to INCREASE the safety space between vehicles. Vehicles from opposite directions on other British roads share the SAME road space. The improved motorway is safer + adds a further safety lane between both.

  19. Peter Wood
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    If David Davis resigns as Brexit minister there must be a vote of no confidence in the PM.

    • alan jutson
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink


      Absolutely agree.

      • JoolsB
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        Ditto and she must take Hammond with her.

    • Logicologist
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      The Remoaners in the Tory Party are sabotaging Brexit and the result prior to their “victory” is a General Election which some or all of them will lose . Labour will gain power with the Parliamentary support of the SNP.

      There will possibly be another referendum on Brexit after the Remoaners of all parties have created great harm. It could be a greater majority for leaving the EU. However the most likely outcome is no referendum, no exit of the EU in real terms at all and this country will sink….and sink…
      The British deserve to fail

      • Chris
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        This is what happens when you have Tory MPs apparently terrified of rocking the boat to upset/threaten the survival of the Tory government, thr Tory Party and themselves, rather than acting for the country. They have apparently put selfish motives above the need to uphold democracy, and this will never be forgotten.

        • The Prangwizard
          Posted June 7, 2018 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

          Indeed so. As I have said many times the most important thing to Tories, way above anything else, is the protection and preservation of the party. They including our host who is about as loyal as you can get will let the country and our sovereignty go to the dogs so long as the party is protected. Loyalty to the leader even if it were a stubborn and unthinking mule would get pledges of support.

        • JoolsB
          Posted June 7, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

          You sound surprised Chris. 650 self serving MPs willl always put themselves first before democracy. Off topic but a YouGov poll this week showed 52% want an English Parliament, the same percentage that voted to leave the EU yet 650 snouts in the trough won’t contemplate one because it would mean P45s for a great number of them. The Westminster Gravy train will always come before democracy for the whole rotten lot of them. We deserve better!

    • Peter
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Davis has been mollified by the inclusion of the word ‘expected’ to describe the proposed end date. That can be ignored when the time comes ,of course. Davis must know that – a face-saving rather than an important change.

      So business as usual. The betrayal continues unless something unexpected crops up.

      • Chris
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        Worth looking at Guido on this. The electorate are not fooled by Davis, nor, of course, Theresa May, Olly Robbins et al. What are the Brexiter MPs waiting for? Surely they have been given enough evidence to show that we, those who won the referendum, have been betrayed?

  20. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Apparently the EU wants the UK to say how these strategic highways will be kept open once we have left the EU, in other words they want to know what bribe we will give them so that they do not deliberately block them. We have already offered to keep the whole of the UK under EU rule in perpetuity just to persuade them not to block the roads crossing the Irish border, so it is hard it to see what more we can offer to placate them apart from ongoing annual payments of protection money. Of course this all flows from the legally binding exit provisions in the EU treaties; as Theresa May pointed out in her Mansion House speech on March 2nd, if a member state gets so fed up with the EU that it decides to withdraw then it becomes responsible for solving any and all problems that this step may cause for the remaining member states. Apart from which, even if we were not legally bound to give the EU whatever it demanded we would still want to do because we want to stay close friends and partners.

  21. Andy
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    We need new roads. We need wider roads. We need better junctions.

    None of this has been in doubt for decades.

    But we also have in power a government which will not pay for these things.

    It can find £1bn from the magic money tree to bribe the DUP.

    It can find £39bn to leave the EU – which was supposed to save us money.

    You want a better road? There’s no money for it.

    Let’s have a general election and kick these shysters out.

    • Pragmatist
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      The excuse you would give if in power for not doing it is “because of years of Tory misrule”. This was Ex-PM Harold Wilson’s get-out for Labour Party failure. They use the excuse every time they gain power for the full length of their nothingburger stint in government. Labour attracts youth for they do not have a memory.

    • graham1946
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      It’s always been the same – never any money for what the paying public want or need but plenty for vanity projects. We have billions of pounds worth of pot holes that need filling before new motorways which probably the majority don’t use daily anyway, but who do use A and B roads all the time. It won’t happen. Politicians don’t like committing money to things which don’t result in an opening ceremony for their self aggrandizement.

    • Peter
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      I agree with your call for a general election though for very different reasons.

      • Andy
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        We have the most incompetent and unpleasant government we have had in my lifetime. Mainly because it is all consumed with trying to deliver on Vote Leave’s undeliverable lies.

        We have the most incompetent and unpleasant opposition we have had in my lifetime too.

        We need a clear all of them out. Get rid of these self-interested time-wasters on both sides of the house. Term limits. Age limits. An absolute ban on all non-Parliamentary income during your period in office. We need nothing short of a revolution.

        • Peter
          Posted June 7, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

          We need a good clear out yes.

          We need politicians who will deliver a clean Brexit as per the referendum.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 7, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

          It seems the voters do not agree with you Andy.
          You also seem to hate everyone in power and everything around you.

          “an absolute ban on all non Parliamentary income…etc.”
          How on Earth could that work?
          MPs are often only in office for a few years.
          If, like yourself, you run a business and get elected what do you do when a dividend is declared?
          Or you own some investments and you get an income from them.
          Or you have a pension?

          You need people with real world experience who come from the professions, industry, finance, charities, trade unions and so on.

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted June 8, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

            Edward, due to the UK electoral system, most voters have absolutely no say either way as their votes count for nothing in determining who ends up in Parliament.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 8, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            I realise you want PR as a system of voting Peter.
            I don’t see the results in nations where there is PR giving people in safe constituencies any more say.
            I do see small parties holding disproportionate power and I see those parties often having extreme policies.
            I also see people voting in large numbers for a party having been seduced by its manifesto which after the coalition is torn up.
            All votes count, all votes are important in signalling the views of the people to whoever forms the government.
            Not just a vote that goes to the winning candidate.
            But I don’t think for a moment you and I will ever agree on this.

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted June 8, 2018 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

            Edward, there’s no such thing as a safe constituency using a PR system, so every vote does count. For an example of the benefits of this, look at representation in Scottish local government where, when they switched from FPTP to STV, the percentage of those who voted being represented by someone they voted for increased from about 50% to 75%. If people see that they have a stake in the outcome, they are more likely to participate, and turnout figures worldwide show this.

            As for “I do see small parties holding disproportionate power and I see those parties often having extreme policies.” can I just say DUP? Equally, constituency-based PR systems such as STV and Open List PR place a minimum support threshold on any party to gain elected representation which acts as a barrier to entry to the smallest parties, but a barrier which does not discriminate as happened with UKIP in 2015.

            In the UK it is not true that all votes count and are important. If they were, the parties would not adopt the campaigning strategies they do, strategies such as instantly writing off about 85% of the electorate as irrelevant to the outcome and not worth bothering with, as the Conservatives did in 2015 and as is documented in Tim Ross’ book on that campaign.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 9, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

            Safe seats are safe only because a large majority of voters vote in one particular way.
            It reflects the views of the majority of people in a particular area.
            Its not permanent as I live in an area that was until recently a safe seat.
            Also your MP represents you whether you voted for him/her.

        • mancunius
          Posted June 7, 2018 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          Age limits – excellent idea Andy. Nobody over the age of 43 should have any vote at all.

        • acorn
          Posted June 7, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          11 out of 10 Andy. If we had another General Election, the same carpet baggers, would turn up again in Westminster; they always do; nothing changes.

          No politician should be allowed to be elected to any position for more than eight years in any lifetime. And, they should not be allowed to be elected to more than one public position, at the same time.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 8, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

            So you agree with Andy that politicians should be banned from having any other source of income yet you want to make it a maximum career of eight years.

        • Anonymous
          Posted June 7, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          Well that was the idea behind Brexit … and Trump for that matter.

    • JoolsB
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      And lets not forget the 4 billion bung they found for Scotland, Wales & NI in the last budget on top of their already over generous block grants which already sees much more per head spent on them than England. Trying to buy the Scottish vote in return for sending 12 MPs to Westminster whereas they think they can take us English for granted so why bother about the state of our roads not to mention everything else.

    • Edward2
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Presumably Andy, you favour a Labour, SNP, Lib Dem, Green coalition of tax more, borrow more, print mire and and waste.
      There will be a forest of magic money trees of they get elected.

      Maybe you will get your wish as May carries on making a mess of manifesto promises

      • Andy
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        There is one inescapable fact – public services cost money.

        Hospitals do not build themselves. Nurses do not pay themselves. Roads do not fix themselves. Schools do not modernise themselves. They need money to do it. And that money has to come from taxes.

        I absolutely do not share the Tory view that the public sector is always bad and wasteful and that the private sector is always good and efficient. Similarly I do not share the Labour view which is opposite.

        Rather I understand that there are some very good, very efficient public services – and some very bad and inefficient ones. There are some very good and very efficient pubic companies and some very bad ones.

        Nobody wants to pay more tax than they have to. But nobody wants appalling services either – and at the moment the balance is wrong. Our hospitals are awful, our roads are a disgrace, the police can not control crime – they all need more money. We all need to pay more tax. I need to pay more tax. You need to pay more tax.

        Crucially – the Tories need to stop letting their rich friends avoid and evade taxes. They stick their slush funds off shore to avoid paying their share. It must end.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 8, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

          Well due to economic growth the UK has been able to increase public spending.
          In 2000 we spent 340 billion and by 2020 we will probably spend 900 billion.
          Your complaints about current standards of public services are more to do with priorities in state spending than sufficiency of overall money.
          We are reaching an overall tax level which is the highest since the war.
          In a world where people and companies can now move, set up and live almost wherever they fancy, the UK has to be careful not to over tax and end up with lower overall tax revenues.

  22. Sakara Gold
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Many studies over the years have shown that increasing capacity on the road network merely has the effect of drawing more traffic in. The problem is that there is insufficient road capacity to deal with rush hour traffic, the motorway and dual carriageway network cannot cope at the junctions. The increased number of vehicles on the roads is mainly due to population growth and growth in the economy, inevitably the capacity of the road system lags behind.

    The M1 has recently had a major upgrade north of the M25 and the Watford gap – yet this is still one of the most conjested areas in the morning, as is the M6 near Manchester.

    Here are some suggestions:-

    1) Promote car sharing for commuters. A number of county councils now have car share websites, but more could be done
    2) Increase investment in public transport and provide more services at rush hours, a good idea was to roll back some of Dr Beeching’s rail cuts and re-open branch rail services into where the jobs are
    3) Introduce more flexible working so that commuters can stagger their journeys to work
    4) More working from home
    5) Without discussing specific roads with particular problems, studies need to be done to establish those roads that would most benefit from dualling upgrades. The oportunity could be taken to provide more electric vehicle charging points, ready for the future
    6) You could review your opposition to bringing the rail operating companies back into public ownership. The recent huge issues with timetabling on the northern routes, also the problems on Southern provide further evidence that privatisation of the operating companies has failed the people who rely on the railway to get to work.

    Lastly, many people who live near or under transport infrastructure routes will suffer with increases in road capacity. Nobody wants a stonking 6 lane motorway through their favourite bit of national park, archaeological heritage or green belt. Time for a re-think of national transport policy?

  23. Tim Radford
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    The A38 in the midlands is a renowned accident spot and is hugely overused

    • DaveK
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      And in Cornwall.

  24. Bob
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    If Mrs May calls another snap election this Autumn based on the open ended customs union backstop, she could lose even more seats than she did in last years snap election; she might even find herself moving to the House of Lords sooner than expected.

  25. Fish Knife
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Devise a better method of mending potholes.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Reading Council has a solution to that…they introduce blanket 20mph speed limits and then let the roads fall to bits.

      Any one who has been to the Royal Berkshire Hospital will find not only are the surrounding roads falling to bits, but there is virtually no viable parking.

    • Logicologist
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Build cars with proper axle height and strength like pre-Velvet Revolution Skodas which did withstand but their present versions can no longer withstand the normal usage of roads which results in potholes by their very nature. Don’t complain a forest grows new saplings. It’s what they do.

    • alan jutson
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      oops link seems to have failed.

      Just google automatic pothole repair vehicle.

  26. Edwardm
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    100% behind what you say – and you have said so before.
    The road system in the UK is very poor compared to other developed countries, we need a far better connected network and by-passes around bottlenecks (and without numerous roundabouts).
    So called smart motorways are not very smart – most motorway users prefer the presence of a hard shoulder – also the costs of upgrading to a smart motorway seem to be over 50% of the cost of widening by a lane i.e. doing the job properly. New roads should have a wide central reservation and bridges wide enough to accommodate a future additional lane.
    We could also do with some more lay-bys, and all slip roads need to be adequately long.

    • graham1946
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      I believe Spain and Poland have some wonderful roads paid for by us.

      • Mark B
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 5:40 am | Permalink

        Not forgetting Ireland.

  27. niconoclast
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    The State muscled in on British roads right at the outset -as it did with radio re the BBC and now we have potholes and the Today programe. (Please join the dots ladies and gentlemen).

  28. libertarian
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink


    And we DON’T need HS2 , problem solved , spend the money on road infrastructure

    • niconoclast
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Really? -road infrastructure? – libertarian? Lol?

  29. Logicologist
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Why are Remoaner Conservatives agreeing with and voting for more and better highways?

    They fervently believe our exit from the EU will bring catastrophe.

    The catastrophe of Brexit in their view would mean devastating economic loss…depletion of population, less cars and trucks on the roads, less use of railways for goods and passengers, closure or less use of of airports, bus stations, taxi-ranks, underground travel.

    • Bob
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Maybe Mrs May has tipped them the wink about her true strategy to talk Brexit while doing everything possible to keep us in.

      I’m surprised that anyone, especially those in her own party actually believed that she would implement a real Brexit, it was all a ruse to avoiding frightening the horses.

  30. rick hamilton
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Obviously there are too many vehicles and not enough roads !

    Either build more motorways, tunnels, bridges with private investment and tolls, or restrict the traffic by odd/ even number plates or some other method. Of course you then need an efficient, fairly priced, modern rail system to take the increased demand. No chance, when the political class are obsessed with social engineering instead of the real thing.

    Why can other countries solve these problems ? Why is the UK so badly managed ?

    • Bob
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      @rick hamilton
      Odd and even means people will just buy a 2nd car.
      If you need to use your car then you need to use your car.

      “why is the UK so badly managed”?
      Refer to UN Agenda 21

    • Bob
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      @rick hamilton
      There is another alternative, and that is to use the money collected from road users to improve the roads. The simple solutions are usually the best.

  31. Logicologist
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    There should not be any “improvement”. The latest rail fiasco is just one of numerous indications for decades that the rail and roadways are a birds nest of criss-crossing chaos which needs literally unravelling.

    When you knit a jumper you don’t just keep knitting on when what you have already knitted has gone wrong. Only a nit would do that.

  32. fredH
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Nero fiddled while Rome burned

    or JR is on about roads and highways while the country’s future is sliding down the pan

    – must be the stiff upper lip stuff

    Reply I talked about Brexit yesterday!

    • Chris
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Brexit is of paramount importance to us all, and there is nothing less than the survival of the UK being at stake. The meeting today is absolutely critical to all of us who want democracy upheld. There does seem to be a complacency amongst many MP about what Theresa May is doing and the “complete capitulation” (Charles Moore) of the Dublin agreement in December, let alone what is happening now. Many will interpret this apparent complacency as due to the fact that the Tory MPs do not really care enough, and would rather protect the status quo of the political elite i.e. we know better than the people/democracy is an outdated concept.

      • Timaction
        Posted June 7, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        If democracy is outdated concept then so to are MPs and Lords and they too can be abolished!! Brexit will happen as it is the will of the people and no Olly or Theresa or Philip will stop it. They are just temporary. There will be serious trouble if the shenanigans being reported today are true!

  33. KZB
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    They spend a lot on the roads but most of it goes on further obstructions instead of increasing capacity.
    The North West Highways Agency chief was on the radio last year. Came across as someone who thinks his “customers” would rate his organisation 8/10 whereas the truth is we’d rate it about 3/10.
    The sloth of improvement projects and the lack of coordination for roadworks is just mind boggling.

  34. bigneil
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Off topic.
    Watching the tv late last night John, I saw a clip of one of your workmates, being interviewed. He was talking about immigration, and said that when someone comes here and cannot support themselves after three months, they can be asked to leave – but – –

    ” We choose not to do so ”

    I was gobsmacked. If I misunderstood then I apologise, but I saw – – A seemingly blatant admission that anyone, once here, can stay for a life on the taxpayer. Is that the attitude of MPs? – -just keep taking our taxes and throwing it away to anyone who turns up??? When is it going to be admitted that the aim of this govt is to make the white English officially classed as slaves, while the migrants sit in their taxpayer funded houses, getting their taxpayer funded lives.
    Unsustainable madness.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      More to the point, this quote shows that responsibility lies solely with Westminster and the UK government, no one else, and anyone who tells you it’s the EU’s fault is not telling you the truth.

  35. Ed Mahony
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    @Mr Redwood,

    To answer your question: no idea.

    I don’t mean to flatter you but i hope you’re given more responsibility for transport and energy in government. In fact, i think you’re the smartest politician in parliament on these issues.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      (SOME Tory cabinet ministers look out of their depth – i’m afraid this is one of the weakest Tory governments i can think of – the Tory party just isn’t getting the candidates it needs, in particular people with experience in business – how the Tory party addresses this, i don’t know, but i think it’s an important concern)

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Ed, don’t you mean on most issues?

  36. lojolondon
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Dear John,
    The quickest and easiest way to simultaneously cut costs and improve highway transport would be the removal of the ‘traffic officers’, who patrol our highways in fuel-guzzling LandRovers and Mitsubishis. Their job is apparently to help the traffic flow, but they always make things worse, because they never actually help anyone, they just cone off lanes and damage traffic flow for hours on end for no good reason.
    The second way to cut costs and improve traffic flow would be the immediate dismantling of the “roadway information” systems and “variable speed limit” systems, which often slow down the traffic, posting reasons like ‘obstacle in roadway’ – of course the obstacle could have moved itself or have been removed hours or days ago, because I have never yet seen a valid reason for the sign to be activated. Sometimes they warn ‘slow traffic ahead’ – but this is a problem that individual drivers have dealt with for over 12 decades now – by slowing down when they see slow moving traffic ahead of them.

  37. stred
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    This summer we will be driving down the A303 to the Westcountry and will be guaranteed an hour or two crawling along beside Stonehenge, as HMG is keen to worship the ground of ancient human sacrificial grounds of ancient people who thought it was a good idea to lug very large stones around and stick them upright in order to worship the sun. Obviously our present leaders are not much more sensible.

    Today I took our car to have its air conditioning topped up, as it has stopped working and we don’t want to expire in a hot traffic jam. The new type of coolant gas leaks out after a few years. Last time it cost £40. This time it is £80 and next week they say it may be £120, because the EU has limited supply quotas in order to save the erf. Next year they will introduce a gas called 1234. Mrs May and Olly, her brainy smirking advisor, is keen to keep us obeying the much cleverer commissioners.

  38. Alison
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Off topic. Skimming through tweeted bits of backstop text. Horrified. Our UK government tone is subservient, eg, “The UK is clear that the future customs arrangement needs to deliver on the commitments made in relation to Northern Ireland.”
    Bravo ERG asking for Mr Robbins’ resignation.

    • Timaction
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      It is clear to the Country that the time for action is now, not when we’ve been tucked up like a kipper (to quote remainers in No 10 on Mr Davis today!) What was the £40 billion plus £60 billion in assets going to be paid for? Why is it the UK’s problem to solve a non-problem on the Northern Ireland border when it’s obvious the EU/Ireland will always reject any proposal? Why is there a need for an extension where nothing changes? Why did the Government agree new freedom of movement with Croatia when we are supposedly leaving the EU?
      May has embarrassed the Country with her total capitulation and it is time she walked or was removed!

  39. Freeborn John
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I cannot understand why eurosceptic Tory MPs are allowing May to get away with this ‘backstop’ nonsense. It will mean the Uk handing over £40-50bn to the EU in return for nothing. The EU will have no incentive to negotiate any trade agreement and will simply pocket this collosal sum (equivalent to 15 years of the Highway England budget) safe in the knowledge that the UK will have opened in goods and food market to them. Furthermore we will have to continue handing over the customs revenue from our imports from the non-EU world to Brussels which means ongoing multi-billion annual payments into the EU budget. And the window of opportunity presented by the Trump administration for an FTA with the USA will close. It is incompetence of a scale never seen in Westminster before and you all stand silently by letting her get away with it.

  40. julian
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    There needs to be a motorway from Dover to Plymouth effectively along the whole of the south coast. The current plans are woefully inadequate and the timescales far too long.

    The Arundel by-pass will takes years on its own. The expansion of the M23 in mid-Sussex south of Gatwick took years when it should have taken months.

    What the green lobby fails to get is that new high capacity roads take traffic away from other areas allowing nature back in – this happens a lot where new trunk roads are built.

    Therefore we need drastic action with rapid projects. The building industry erects new estates and high rise blocks in no time at all – the road industry needs to get its act together.

  41. a-tracy
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    The amount of time Highways England have taken working on J16 of J19 on the M6 is hopeless, traffic constantly crawling along at a snail’s pace, the on-ramp at M6 J16 Crewe/Stoke is a death trap, the concrete bollards at J18 offramp moving all the time is unlit and just plain dangerous! If the Highways and you think they do a good job you’re mistaken, I know men giving up their jobs because they just can’t cope with it anymore. Vast tranches of roads with no road works now down to 50mph around Stafford and lower in other stretches for no good reason adding 30 minutes more on to everyone’s working life each way when drivers are restricted on their hours, which results in more nights away from their families, just finish one job first before you jam up another 10 miles with massive fines being accrued every day!

    The whole thing is just a revenue raising con too and I actually think we have gone backwards, with dangerous systems now with no hard shoulders and slow-moving drivers, driving too close to one another, a situation with HGVs many with foreign plates overtaking you when you’re doing 50mph and you’re sticking to the speed limit!!

    Birmingham connections are just too busy!! You don’t need to ask members of the public only interested in their little bit of the Country, you need to speak to transport drivers, workers frustrated every day by Highways England, sit on service stations and interview them, start at M40 J2 John, their health and welfare is being put at risk with poorly planned roadworks, cones get removed but not the speed limits to trap them. I best stop now!

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 7, 2018 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps you could ask for the figures? Ask what fines have been raised from J16 to J19 in the last three years -v- the amount the roadworks were actually quoted to cost to do, I’d like to guess it takes 4 years in order to raise the fines to pay for it, when we’ve already paid in fuel tax, ved, insurance tax, all taxes paid for road use and spent elsewhere.

  42. mancunius
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Now that the government has finally decided to hand over the jurisdiction of every regulation to the EU in saecula saeculorum, perhaps we should be asking what innovations Selmayr and Juncker will and will not allow on our roads.

  43. The Prangwizard
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to see the A34 upgraded from the M3 at Winchester the whole way north to and and an extension of it to the A43 at Cherwell and the same upgrading of the A43 to the M1 so there will then be seamless route from the northeast and east Midlsnds to the south coast without traffic having to use the M40 as at present. And lets have four lanes at junction points with the M1 and the M3 and around Oxford.

  44. Iain Gill
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    A1 from Leeds to Edinburgh should be turned into motorway or radically improved

    Long stretches of motorway that have had hard shoulder turned into running lanes need widening and more safety when inevitable breakdowns occur, I have seen many near disasters

  45. niconoclast
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Re the EU the ‘tories’ got us into it and they are gonna keep us in it. Happy to bet anyone on that (I did predict Brexit,Trump and that Theresa May would get a hung parliament – go check). Lots of frustration on this thread the only solution to which is for conservative voters to recognize finally, that the party they vote for is a lost cause and to demand a new party that will argue for capitalism rather than the failed dysfunctional mixed economy,which because of its inherent contradictions will always lead to the kind of mess the UK is in now.

  46. Mike Wilson
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Off topic slightly – but about cars. I buy a new car every 5 years or so. My next purchase will be in a few weeks time for delivery in the Autumn. I regularly buy Audis. Always found them well made and reliable. This time, because of the uncertainty over Brexit and the future trading arrangements, I am buying a Jaguar.

    So, well done Mr. Barnier and co. I wonder how many other people will start thinking long and hard about buying EU products.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      We’ve done the same Mike. No German cars for us. We support British jobs. Our friend recently switched from BMW to Range Rover and has never looked back.

  47. Mike Wilson
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    4 lane motorways are a waste of money. Driving around the M25 all that happens is that people are even lazier about moving over after overtaking. You see people blithely driving in the 3rd lane even though the inner two are empty.

    To prevent accidents there should be cameras on every motorway junction. When leaving you should not be allowed to cross into the inside lane within half a mile of a junction. These idiots who tear down the outside lane and swerve across 3 lanes at the last minute onto the off ramp cause accidents. Anyone doing this should be caught on camera and banned for 12 months for a first offence and for life for a second offence. There should be a solid white line between the middle land and inside lane for half a mile (or even a mile) before every junction.

    Likewise, to get traffic safely onto the motorway, you should not be allowed to join the motorway and change lanes immediately. Again, there should be a solid white line for a mile after each junction between the inside lane and the outside lane. There should be a minimum and maximum 60 m.p.h. limit in the inside lane for a mile each side of a junction. People joining the motorway should join the motorway at 60 m.p.h. so they are doing the same speed as the traffic in the inside lane.

    Better still, put big signs above the motorway – ‘Junction two miles ahead – leave inside lane clear for traffic to join – use centre and outside lane if possible’

    Finally, get some police cars on the motorway and nick people for tailgating. Nick ’em and nick ’em hard with a 12 month ban. They are the half wits that cause accidents.

  48. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    I’ve got an idea for a topic. What about asking who we are going to vote for after we have been well and truly shafted by all 3 main parties?

  49. fedupsoutherner
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    I had to laugh over the gall of our PM. She is quoted in the Scottish Daily Mail as saying that Nicola Sturgeon is out of touch with the Scottish people because she wants to have another independence referendum. Yes, I agree with her but what a hypocrite when she hasn’t listened to the people of the UK who voted to come out of the EU. We did not vote for this fudge of a Brexit. We voted for what the CONSERVATIVE government promised us when they gave us a referendum in the first place. They never had any intention of getting the UK out of the EU and have gone against the wishes of the people. I hope to God they pay for it at the next election or that someone in the Tory party has the gumption to stand up and organise a way of getting her out. A bit like they did with Maggie. Hello, anyone out there? Doesn’t look like anyone has the courage of their convictions but are happy to see the UK lose the biggest and best chance it ever had of getting out and shafting so many of us. I am getting more and more disinterested in politics by the day.

  50. DUNCAN
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Theresa May is an offence to the dignity of the United Kingdom.


    We are on the verge of a great betrayal and this idiot PM still appears untouchable

    Tory voters to a man want May deposed YESTERDAY

    You voter for her and you must depose her

    UKIP is waiting and watching

    • Georgy Llewor
      Posted June 10, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Duncan is not happy, says Russell lower down this page. And dear Duncan continues to repeat, despite explanations from several people over the weeks, that JR did not vote for Theresa May. This is wrong, and if dear Duncan cannot fit these three words in his brain, it is even smaller than I thought. If Duncan thinks he is making Brexit more likely with his GROTESQUE type of comment, I would think it is more likely to be counter-productive.
      I cannot understand why the remainers on this blog are shot down by a number of people but why an illuminatus like Duncan is not.

  51. Freeborn John
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    This backstop proposed by the UK is beyond belief. It effectively means staying in the customs union and single market indefinitely with the UK unable to leave in future and handing over 80-90% of the tariff revenue on our non-EU imports (which will be ~4bn a year) in perpetuity. David Davis, Boris Johnson & Liam Fox gave the game away when signing up to this. The departments of David Davis and Liam Fox are both effectually useless now as there will be change in UK status and no trade agreements negotiated by the UK as we will be bound by the EU common external tariff. Why are these ministers staying in the cabinet when they have nothing to do? This means permanent slave status for the country and there is total silence from you and your colleagues on the matter while you blog about the roads. May has to be stopped and now.

  52. John
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    I don’t want more capacity.

    In English villages locals ride horses. With the explosions of new towns these small villages get Audi and BNW drivers speeding through country lanes scaring horses so much they can’t face trotting on tarmac.

    Our culture and way of life is being taken away from us in one generation.

    Restrict immigration.

    Instead of the sound of birds and horses we have German tearaway car drivers.

  53. Prigger
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    * Year delay in triggering Article 50
    * Two year, more , “implementation period” after two years of Article 50 realisation
    * Years “backstop” after above
    * Complete con of the British public
    * But wait… stop now!
    *We do not believe a word of this nonsense
    *We should leave 29th March 2019. Full stop. “Out Ready or Not”

  54. Raymond
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Traffic levels are continuing to grow in the UK driven, mainly, by population growth. Highway capacity, although growing, is growing at a much lower rate. Hence congestion and journey times (and costs) continue to increase overall. I personally think the solution, if there is one, lies in electronic road pricing. In that way revenue can be raised, journey times improved for those using the road network, while the marginal users are incentivised to leave their cars at home. However, I appreciate it would be politically difficult (for instance it could be construed as discriminating against the poor who would be driven off the roads). Alternatives to this are reducing the population, economic recession, increasing the excise duty on fuel etc.

    By the way, with reference to your mention of the A303, I recall being sat in a deckchair near Ilchester counting vehicles on the A303 as part of a study into dualling the A303 in the mid 90’s. I think it can sometimes take a while from transport scheme concept to completion (e.g. the 3rd runway for Heathrow. I think it would be far better at Stanstead from the point of cost, security, safety and environment )

  55. Doom Merchant
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    BBC Question Time
    The panellists ‘ view was that Internet retailing is here. It has changed the High Street for ever. One panellist challenged the audience ” Hands up those who have not bought something online.” Odd , but it reminded me of “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
    Constituents who lose their jobs due to online retailers low tax joyrides will put their cross where MPs least expect it.

  56. mancunius
    Posted June 7, 2018 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    As the customs union does not a) solve the Irish cross-border question and also does not b) provide net economic gain to the UK, since we have a trade deficit with the other 27, surely we have to assume that May, Robbins etc al and all the Remainers who demand it, want a customs union precisely because has two negative effects:
    1) The customs union prevents the UK from reaching proper trade deals with other countries, so it can never detach itself properly from the EU.
    2) Membership of the customs union – while paying the 40-50bn Danegeld – means that as long as we remain in trade deficit (and we shall, for as long as we are chained to EU trade, no industry is impelled to change its ways) the EU has no motivation to strike a deal with the UK, or to ‘agree’ to a deal on the Irish border, so the limbo of subservience will perpetuate itself.

    If it is not countermanded, the Tories will never have my vote again.

  57. David D
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Government does not give a damn about traffic problems any further away from London than Heathrow. As evidence of this I offer the appalling coast road from Kent to Devon. A few sections of dual carriageway and a bit of motorway but essentially unchanged from the 1960s when we went on holiday to the West Country in my parents Vauxhall Victor. Try getting through Worthing, Arundel, Chichester, Dorchester, Bridport and many other places in rush hour or summer.
    Another is the A303, totally incapable of handling the traffic load in summer. Basically between June and October you drive at night or sit in traffic jams for hours. The A303 should have been upgraded to motorway standards and the coast road should have been a minimum of dual carriageway at least 30 years ago. An absolute and total failure not just by this gang of buffoons in Westminster but all their predecessors for the last 50 years. Of course MP’s don’t drive to Devon, they fly to Mauritius or St Lucia so the only important bit of road is between their home, Westminster and the airport.

  58. Martin
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I fear there is little or no chance of improving the transport system if Nimbys are not banned, especially the variety with money who play games at the courts.

    I expect Mr Grayling’s new runway at Heathrow will run into the sand of endless legal delays as Nimbys try and block it on the grounds that the rubber stamp on some form is the wrong colour etc etc.

    Of course it is typical British “planning” that plan suggested when Mr brown was PM gets kicked around for a decade and still not a bulldozer in site.

    Why the politicians of all parties don’t scrap these ghastly planning laws and get a few percent extra growth beats me.

  59. margaret howard
    Posted June 9, 2018 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    After all that high faluting stuff about Highways England, are there any plans to repair the pot holes in our roads?

    Reply Yes as explained on this site

  60. Cis
    Posted June 10, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink


    While your meeting was with Highways England, the key decision has to be the cancellation of HS2. Yes, a stupid amount of money has already been spent, but better to pull the plug now than to let it waste billions more to take ten minutes off London-Birmingham train times.

    Using what is left of the HS2 billions to unblock bottlenecks elsewhere on the network – such as doubling maxed-out tunnels – would spread the benefits beyond what are already two prospering hubs. The so-called ‘Northern Powerhouse’ would get at least as much of a boost if a fraction of the planned HS2 spend went on upgrading what is laughably known as the East Coast Main Line, parts of which have only one track in each direction.

    Regarding roads, progress has been made on upgrading the A1 through Yorkshire, but there are still too many roundabouts and plain dual carriageway sections along most of its length, especially between London and the A14 – improvements here would surely help to spread the loads carried currently by the M1, M11 and M40.

    I would also put in a plea for a review of de-trunking, which I hear has deprived many busy county roads of adequate investment. The A15 between the M180 to the part-dualled A46 at Lincoln is a prime example: it is barely wide enough for standard artics serving the Humber ports (the largest in the country by volume handled) to pass each other safely mirror-to-mirror when going in opposite directions, but it is not rated a ‘trunk’ road so even adding a couple of feet each side to the existing carriageway is unaffordable. There are no doubt other examples around the country, even if Wokingham has been spared this particular blight.

  • 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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