'Still too much spent on big road building schemes'

 

Key figures from the transport sector have disagreed about the chancellor’s pledge to spend more money on roads while freezing fuel duty.

In his Autumn Statement on Wednesday, Philip Hammond announced an additional £1.1bn by 2020/21 to relieve congestion and deliver upgrades on local roads and public transport networks and an extra £220m to tackle key pinch-points on strategic roads.

”Local
Stephen Joseph

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said the Autumn Statement was ‘broadly positive for drivers and road users’ against a backdrop of deteriorating public finances.

He said: ‘The continued duty freeze indicates the chancellor recognises transport is the biggest single area of household expenditure and two thirds of workers commute by car.

‘The £1.3bn earmarked for roads has been confirmed as new money. Most of the cash will go on improving the more than 200,000 miles of local roads that fall outside the strategic road network and that the majority of drivers use on a daily basis; however the local road maintenance backlog remains a formidable one with the cost to clear it entirely estimated by ministers themselves to be £8.6bn.’

He added: ‘Tucked away in the statement’s small print is a recommitment to the National Road Fund which will ring fence Vehicle Excise duty for spending on strategic roads from 2020.’

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: ‘While the Government has rightly committed to focusing on smaller local projects which can deliver better value, it is still wasting too much on big road building schemes.

‘Schemes such as the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway and duelling the A66 across the Pennines will only increase traffic - what's needed instead is more support for alternatives to driving including rail and bus infrastructure.

‘It's a missed opportunity to set us on path to low carbon future with a focus on better, greener growth with better and cheaper alternatives to car travel.’

Mr Joseph welcomed plans for East-West Rail but said the chancellor had ‘yet again missed the opportunity to step in’ to tackle accelerating losses to supported bus services in rural areas.

He said it was disappointing that the chancellor had not said anything about the forthcoming Cycling and Walking Strategy or provided ‘any actual investment’ in it.

Mr Joseph added: ‘We are disappointed the chancellor has chosen to freeze fuel duty yet again. This will do nothing to address air pollution from transport or reduce congestion.

‘If the UK is to reduce air pollution to within legal limits as soon as possible, then we need a much more robust Air Quality Strategy, a commitment to reduce the number of private vehicles on the roads and more incentives to support public transport, walking and cycling.’

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Environmental Health Officer WCC10676

Westminster City Council
£33,759 - £47,274 per annum
As an Environmental Health Officer in Food Safety or Health and Safety, you will be responsible for... London (Greater)
Recuriter: Westminster City Council

Definitive Map Manager

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
This role is based within the Highways Service at Cambridgeshire County Council and provides an unusual and... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Assistant Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£21,074 - £30,756
A great opportunity for someone looking to start or develop a career in Highways Engineering including the... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Head of Strategic Transport

Cheshire East Council
£64,000 - £75,000 + benefits
We’re committed to “working for a brighter future together” – and we expect you to be too! Cheshire
Recuriter: Cheshire East Council

Regeneration Manager

Mole Valley District Council
£52,895 - £57,143 FTE
This is a great career opportunity to specialise in town centre regeneration and repositioning. Dorking, Surrey
Recuriter: Mole Valley District Council

Technical Services Officer (Mechanical)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£36,876 - £38,813
This is an exciting and challenging time for Kirklees and we want to expand our team to manage and deliver construction... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Road and Footway Asset Engineer

Kent County Council
£28,925 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen to join the Road and Footway Asset Team as an Asset Engineer. Kent
Recuriter: Kent County Council

Head of Waste

Lincolnshire County Council
£65,651 - £70,725
As Head of Waste, you will be commercially focussed and forward-thinking. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Assistant Director

Reading Borough Council
Up to £92k
It’s the ideal time to take the lead on our modernisation agenda, and deliver growth in the trading of our front line services. Reading, Berkshire
Recuriter: Reading Borough Council

Assistant Director – Highways

Lincolnshire County Council
£82,264 - £107,878
Come and lead the future agenda for our highways services. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council