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Better roads are not the answer


Anthony Weight (NCE 20 July) pleads for bypasses and better designed roads to be considered environmentally friendly, because 'emissions may be reduced'. Unfortunately, this aim will only be achieved if the volume of traffic does not increase.

Improving roads has always reduced the cost of journeys and therefore increased traffic by a minimum of 20%. More traffic therefore negates the emission and safety benefits of better design.

'Environmentalists' are not anti roads per se but anti the resulting increase in motor traffic. It is ironic that the UK has a lower level of per capita car ownership than many continental countries but higher car use.

With 75% of car journeys less than five miles long, a Dutch quality cycle network would replace a significant number of car trips, delivering lower emissions, better safety and improving the health of sedentary car drivers.

Lewis Lesley (M), professor of transport science, John Moores University, 98 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool L3 5UZ

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