RAC fears over lack of roads spending as cars increase

Traffic jam on the A40 Four million extra cars are expected on the roads in the coming years as the population rises

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Motorists face longer delays on Britain's roads because of more cars and lower transport infrastructure spending, says the RAC Foundation.

Four million more cars will be on the roads in the next 25 years, says a report by the foundation.

But the report warns: "Ministers have not explained what plans they have to cope with the bleak picture painted by their own numbers".

Roads Minister Mike Penning said £4bn was earmarked for various projects.

The report foretells a 43% rise in traffic volume by 2035, with the biggest increase in the East Midlands.

The foundation, working with consultancy group Arup, identified 96 road schemes which were "currently sitting on the Department for Transport's shelves".


  • A453 widening (M1 to A52) Nottingham - £153m
  • A5-M1 Dunstable northern bypass, Bedfordshire - £146m
  • A21 Tonbridge to Pembury dual carriageway, Kent - £117m
  • Kingkerswell bypass, Devon - £110m
  • Leeds Inner Ring Road - £43m
  • A38(M) Tame viaduct, West Midlands - £31m
  • A47 Blofield to North Burlingham, Norfolk - £26m
  • Evesham bridge maintenance, Worcestershire - £14m
  • A45 westbound bridge, Solihull, West Midlands - £13m
  • A18-A180 link, Lincolnshire - £8m

The foundation claimed the top 10 projects on this list would offer significant returns on their investments - more than £6 for every £1 invested.

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "Forget about Plan B, ministers do not even have a Plan A for dealing with the awful conditions forecast for the roads in the years ahead. It is a case of jams today, and even more jams tomorrow.

"The Department for Transport's own figures show that by 2035 traffic is set to rise by almost 50% and delays by more than 50%. And these are only average figures."

Mr Penning said: "Transport investment was treated as a priority for government in the spending review and we have committed £4 billion on Highways Agency major projects, capital maintenance and enhancements.

"This substantial investment, alongside funding for the local road network, will drive economic growth and boost the UK economy."

He added: "An independent review of the Highways Agency is also under way to examine options for improving the efficiency, effectiveness and performance of our strategic road network."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 412.

    This report from the RAC which always wants more spending on roads is wrong. In twenty five years there will be fewer cars on the road. Oil is running out and in the future petrol price rises will put cars out of reach of most ordinary people. Electric cars are simply not viable for long journeys so what is needed now is more investment in public transport not more roads.

  • rate this

    Comment number 385.

    If the only people who drive are those people who NEED to drive then there wouldn't be a problem. I'm 23, I don't need a car. I use buses and trains. The people of this country are lazy and obsessed with comfort. I know several people who travel by car for their morning paper, despite the newsagent being only a 3 minute walk around the corner. It's insane. You all need to get a grip.

  • rate this

    Comment number 334.

    Also not on this list - the A303. Permanently congested, in summer and winter. It's so obvious that it's needed - the only east-west trunk route from London, apart from the M4.

    And with tourism rapidly replacing industry in this country, we need a way to get to the delights of Devon and Cornwall.

    Solve the Stonehenge problem, and get it done now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 333.

    Once there were motorists and motoring was considered a pleasure. Then we got better roads more cars and we became drivers. Driving here, there and hopefully somewhere. In most British cities getting around is slower today than Henry VIII ever experienced by horse and carriage. More cars on the roads? My hunch is that it will lead to more stress, more unhappiness. Progress!

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    Try living without a car where we live in Wales. 15 mins drive to the nearest shop now the village store has closed...due to the Post Office's branch closures. Public transport ? There is none....zilch, nowt.

    Home deliveries ? Nope...too far.

    Cycling is possible, have tried it. But the 20 mile route to the nearest town is extremely hazardous due to high speed traffic heading to the coast.


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