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Letter: AGENDA - Case for M6 widening not made.

Byline: GERALD KELLS

Dear Editor, Jerry Blackett is completely wrong to say the case for widening the M6 has been "established beyond doubt" (Hard luck as M6 shoulders Kelly's new road solution, Post March 5).

The case for widening was last examined in 2002 through the West Midlands to North West Multi Modal Study, which concluded that is was a matter of judgement whether a tolled three-lane motorway would be more reliable than a four-lane motorway with a lower toll. The study did not support widening without a toll and did not claim that would produce a reliable motorway.

It also concluded the widening option would increase CO2 emissions while the non-widening option would not.

At the time, the cost of widening the motorway was put at pounds 670 million. The only significant change since then has been that the cost has risen to pounds 2.9 billion and might well go up further in the future.

Yesterday Mr Blackett was calling for more funding for transport projects in the region following the decision of the local authorities not to pursue congestion charging, but when will he put two and two together?

If the Government spends the now astronomical sums it costs to widen motorways (and the M6 is only one), which generate traffic to clog up our towns and cities, they will not have money to support regional transport schemes. There is not an infinite pot.

We accept that Active Traffic Management is not the perfect solution but it represents a positive move away from large damaging road widenings.

There is no silver bullet to end congestion or reduce emissions, but one thing is clear, the future is in managing demand, not trying vainly to accommodate it, and the sooner everyone accepts that the better for us all.

GERALD KELLS Campaign to Protect Rural England
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 6, 2008
Words:306
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