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Letter: Why motorway widening is not a good idea.

Byline: GERALD KELLS

Dear Editor, -It is not enough to say (Post, May 19) that we can widen motorways now and then at some future date introduce congestion charging when and if public transport is good enough.

Widening motorways is hugely expensive and saps money away from public transport. Not only that but widening motorways leads directly (or indirectly through changes in where people live and work) to increased congestion on roads in towns and cities (most of which cannot be widened).

In fact, large scale motorway widening undermines the possibility of public transport investment.

Not only that, it acts as a focus of attention, diverting transport planners and politicians away from dealing with the underlying problem of traffic growth. There is a strong case for considering charging, particularly where congestion is worst, and for using that to fund additional public transport improvements. In particular it would be relatively cheap to fund the sort of prioritised bus based network that would be required to respond to urban congestion charging.

There is no merit in continually swallowing up our countryside to widen motorways when there is no long term gain. Rather than widening roads first and investing in alternatives afterwards the time has come to face the fact that the network as a whole is overstretched and we can't widen our way out of that.

GERALD KELLS Regional Policy Officer WM CPRE Walsall

CAPTION(S):

A rainbow over the M25 in Kent -one motorway which has seemingly become just more congested after widening schemes
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 31, 2004
Words:253
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