Roads programme in turmoil!

Transport Action Network (TAN) [1] has welcomed the statement by Mark Harper (Secretary of State for Transport) that several road schemes in the second roads programme (RIS2) will be further delayed [2]. They are:

  1. Lower Thames Crossing – construction delayed by two years [3]
  2. A27 Arundel – will move to next roads period (RIS3) so won’t proceed until after 2025 [4]
  3. A5036 Princess Way (Port of Liverpool Access Road) – will move to next roads period (RIS3) so won’t proceed until after 2025 [5]

In addition, schemes being developed for RIS3 will continue, but for inclusion in RIS4 (after 2030). This is perhaps the biggest sign that the roads programme is struggling to deliver and needs radical reform. Chris Todd, Director of TAN said:

“It’s good the Government has recognised that the country simply cannot afford these hugely expensive road schemes which take us backwards on climate change. However, Mark Harper should have gone further and put them out of their misery, switching the funding into public transport and active travel instead.

“To say that the A27 Arundel Bypass and A5036 Port of Liverpool Access Road “both face a range of challenges including environmental considerations” is an understatement. They would cause massive environmental damage and nothing short of scrapping these schemes will satisfy local people.

“With delays to RIS3 schemes, it’s clear the whole programme is in turmoil. It’s time for a proper roads review as Wales has done. It makes no sense to be throwing good money after bad and continuing to develop more pipeline schemes. All these roads increase carbon emissions, when the government is already struggling to reduce emissions fast enough. 

“With less than two years until an election, a new Government is likely to scrap these dinosaur projects. In any case it’s going to need to revisit roads policy in the light of the current failure to decarbonise road transport quickly enough.”

– ENDS – 

Notes to Editors:

[1] Transport Action Network was established to support local communities press for more sustainable transport in England and Wales. This involves fighting cuts to bus services, particularly in rural areas, and opposing damaging road schemes and large unsustainable developments.

[2] Written statement by Mark Harper, Secretary of State for Transport, to the House of Commons today: 9 March, 2023. The second Roads Investment Strategy (RIS2) runs from 2020 – 2025.

[3] The £10bn Lower Thames Crossing is the largest and most expensive road scheme ever, would increase carbon emissions by 6.6 million tonnes, and increase air and noise pollution. More details on the Thames Crossing Action Group website. It is not clear exactly what this delay means for the current DCO process.

[4] The A27 Arundel Bypass is extremely controversial as it would impact on three villages and pass close to the South Downs National Park. More information on the ABNC website

[5] The A5036 Princess Way (Port of Liverpool Access Road) would pass through the entire length of Rimrose Valley Country Park and is strongly opposed locally. More details on the Save Rimrose Valley website.


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