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Tories plan road and rail building bonanza

Road building will be key to making the UK more competitive, a new report from the Conservative Party has claimed.

The report from the party’s Economic Competitiveness Policy group chaired by John Redwood promised a new generation of trunk road schemes.

These include widening the M1 and A1(M) from London to Scotland, a new “highway of the South” and improved road access to UK ports, all of which could be privately funded by tolls.

Local authorities would be handed £10bn, partly funded by new charges on foreign operated lorries. The cash would be spent on increasing capacity on the local road network.

Schemes would include underpasses and elevated carriageways at main city junctions. Meanwhile, the report proposes to “decentralise Network Rail” to enable train franchise operators to fund and develop their own rail infrastructure.

ICE transport board chairman Alan Stilwell welcomed proposals to build more roads and give rail fi rms the chance to build their own infrastructure. But he said that the report needed “more detail” and had some “major omissions”.

“There is clearly a case for increased road capacity in some areas but we’ve got to be very careful we don’t think we can build ourselves out of trouble,” he said.

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