This investment means that over this Parliament and the next, the government will have spent over £24bn on major roads. In what the prime minister described as the biggest road-building programme since the 1970s, the ‘roads revolution’ includes plans to invest in more than 100 projects on the strategic road network by the end of the decade. This is likely to include improvements to:
- The A303.
- The A1 north of Newcastle.
- The A1 Newcastle-Gateshead western bypass.
- Trans-Pennine roads in the north of England.
- The A47.
- The A27.
David Cameron said, “We are now not only spending as much on rail as any Government since Victorian times, but on roads we are spending more than any Government since the big expansion of the 1970s… Hundreds of extra lane miles on our motorways and trunk roads. The green light given to major projects that have been stalled for years. Action to improve some of the most important arteries in our country – like the A303 and the A1 – which for too long have held parts of our country back. And all underpinned by over £15bn worth of investment… This will be nothing less than a roads revolution – one which will lead to quicker journey times, more jobs, and businesses boosted right across the country.”
Responding to the speech, John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said, “There was recognition that it is necessary to grow at the same time as cutting back, and it was good to hear the emphasis on both infrastructure investment and skills.”
However, the announcement has been criticised by some, suggesting that this will damage our national parks and historic sites such as Stonehenge whilst making people even more dependent on their cars.
Ref Prime Ministers’ Office, CBI Annual Conference 2014: Prime Minister’s address, 10 November 2014.
Further details announced on 1 December 2014, see Road investment strategy.
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