THE CASE for building Britain's first tolled motorway has been seriously undermined following the leaking of a highly critical Government report, environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth claimed this week.
In the report, commissioned in 1990 by the then Department of Transport, traffic forecasts for the planned Birmingham Northern Relief Road are slammed by specialist traffic consultant Transport Planning Associates.
The report describes traffic modelling adopted by BNRR concessionaire Midland Expressway Ltd as 'unacceptably crude' and says: 'We can have little confidence in the forecasts produced by MEL.' It goes on: 'We have serious misgivings about both the quality of the assignment modelling and the appropriateness of the market research.'
FoE claims that had the public inquiry had access to the report the inspector may not have recommended the road go ahead.
But an MEL spokesman claimed the report was based on outdated figures from an early stage of tender appraisal.