The fight to safeguard transport funding heated up last week with six heavyweight business and motoring groups entering the ring. Mark Hansford reports.
WITH JULY'S comprehensive spending review looming ever closer, six of the biggest business and motoring groups have decided the time is right to enter the fray.
The pressure group is led by the Freight Transport Association (FTA). It wants to see chancellor Gordon Brown commit £4bn to widening the most congested parts of the M25, M1, M4, M6 and M62 motorways when he unveils his spending plans for the next three years.
Also part of the group are the AA Motoring Trust, the British Chambers of Commerce, business lobby group CBI, the RAC Foundation, and the Road Haulage Association.
The campaign 'Relief from Motorway congestion - 12 feet wide' argues that adding an extra lane in each direction to these roads will increase their safe capacity by a third, and improve journey times.
'It is absolutely stupid that we are the world's fourth largest economy and yet are letting congestion build, ' said FTA director general Richard Turner.
'We wanted to send a very clear statement to transport secretary Alistair Darling, chancellor Gordon Brown and to all MPs with an interest in UKplc that there is a solution - and it's not miles and miles of new motorway, ' he added.
Priority schemes identified by the FTA are mainly on the key routes radiating away from London and the Channel Tunnel.
They include widening the M1 north of London and in the East Midlands, and widening the M4 between London and Reading.
The group also wants the remaining three lane sections of the M25 widened to four, plus widening of the M62 between Bradford and Leeds and widening of the M60 north of Manchester.
FTA's campaign will run for a month with a series of fullpage adverts in the national press ahead of a parliamentary reception on 22 June.