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Call for £3bn roads ‘retrofit’

A ‘green retrofit’ programme for the UK’s main roads would make journeys quicker, more efficient, and healthier, according to a new report.

Hovenring cycle bridge

The CBT wants more projects like this cycle bridge at Hovenring in the Netherlands.

The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) said the £3bn scheme would reduce “the impact of our existing roads on the environment and the communities that surround them”.

It added: “Unlike building new lanes and road links, a ‘green retrofit’ programme for main roads would have long-term benefits, helping undo some of the damage being done on a daily basis to wildlife, views, noise, air and water pollution.

“With the addition of smart technology, bus and coach priority and better crossings and facilities for walking and cycling, it would also help make journeys more efficient and easier to make in active, healthy ways that don’t clog up our roads.”

The report encourages:

  • Green bridges
  • Cycling facilities and crossings
  • Reducing severance for pedestrians
  • Smarter cameras and better use of real-time information for roads
  • Traffic reduction and travel planning
  • Coach and bus priority

The CBT released the report ahead of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) first Road Investment Strategy (RIS), to be announced by the Chancellor at this year’s Autumn Statement in December. The RIS will govern the first five years of operations of the Highways Agency as it is turned into a government-owned company, and will allocate more than £15 billion to capital investment in the road network.

The campaign warned: “There is a real danger that only projects that make the strategic road network bigger and wider, along with potential new road links through National Parks and protected sites, will be included.

“So we’ve been lobbying officials and ministers to put a big chunk of the RIS funding into reducing the impact of the existing road network instead.

“This would be better value for money than large road-building projects and more ‘shovel-ready’, since groups like ours are more likely to welcome than challenge projects to make roads more efficient, more integrated into the landscape, less polluting, and less of a barrier to people on foot and bikes, and to wildlife.”

The full report can be viewed here.


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