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Campaign to Protect Rural England: government focus is on high carbon road building

Traffic levels have increased by 40% over the last 15 years in much of England, becoming the fastest growing source of domestic carbon emissions, according to a new study published today by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

The CPRE said it feared the government would be “bulldozing as usual” as English regional bodies release proposals to focus funding on “high carbon” road building. It added that each region is on course to increase its transport emissions.

“It is clear that regional decision makers are reluctant to face up to the incompatibility of rising traffic levels and lower carbon emissions,” said CPRE senior transport campaigner Ralph Smyth. “We need urgent investment in rail, bus, walking and cycle routes to give people in all areas real choices for low-carbon travel.”

The study found that spending on road building ranges from 45% of transport funding for major schemes in Yorkshire & Humber to over 80% in the South East.

In response to the findings Liberal Democrat shadow transport secretary Norman Baker said: “This is a Government that has built 15 times as much road as new railway and which has heavily skewed the funding formula so that anything other than road expansion is unlikely to get the green light.

Smyth added: “We need a dramatic increase in the proportion of sustainable transport schemes to make up for the regions’ failure to take carbon cuts seriously.”

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