Tell Rishi Sunak to stop funding RIS2

The £27 billion RIS2 roads programme is under pressure like never before. With your help we can give it a big nudge to push it over the edge. The Treasury is asking for your views on priorities for the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), which will set out Government spending for the next three critical years. The CSR will be announced alongside the Autumn Budget on 27 October.

Your representation can be as long or short as you wish, but the key messages we want Rishi Sunak to hear are that the £27bn RIS2 roads programme should be cancelled because it:

  • is expensive (and unaffordable)

  • makes things worse – it increases traffic, congestion and pollution

  • increases carbon emissions at the very time we need to be reducing them and fast

  • diverts scarce resources away from sustainable solutions

  • undermines the levelling up / reducing inequality agenda

Please respond now as the deadline is 30 September! 

The money could be better spent on:

  • active travel – levels of investment are far too low to make a significant difference quickly enough

  • buses – more investment is needed to give people real choice with better and cheaper services so that we avoid a car led recovery which will impact negatively on the economic recovery post pandemic

  • rail – cheaper services are needed so it is competitive with driving and air transport

  • freight on rail – if HGVs are not going to be charged for the damage they cause then rail freight needs to be subsidised to create a more level playing field

  • investing in sustainable transport will save the NHS and social care billions in the future with a healthier and happier population and workforce

Background information:

In July, the High Court quashed the planning permission for a highly damaging £2bn dual carriageway through Stonehenge World Heritage Site. Given the change in circumstances since the scheme was first drawn up, it’s the perfect moment to reclaim the money and to invest in sustainable alternatives instead or to reduce public debt.

Similarly the £8.2 billion Lower Thames Crossing is the biggest, most expensive, most carbon-emitting road scheme for a generation. It is highly damaging while providing few benefits (only a marginal drop in traffic levels at Dartford) and is reliant on further road building to function properly. As it hasn’t started the planning process it would be easy to call a halt to it now.

The £27bn roads programme has around £14bn allocated for new roads – the rest goes on maintenance and renewal, debt on PFI borrowing and National Highways operations. It can be seen from this that these two roads alone, both in the south, swallow up most of this budget. Hardly fitting with the Government’s levelling up agenda and that’s before considering all the other roads in the south that it wants to build.

Transport Action Network’s representation to the Comprehensive Spending Review 2021


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