Road-building: Transport policy heading in wrong direction

1st December 2014

Responding to the Government’s announcement today of more than 80 new road schemes, Friends of the Earth senior campaigner Jane Thomas said: “Once again UK transport policy is heading in the wrong direction.

“This is yet more dinosaur thinking by the Government – tackling congestion by building or widening roads was discredited decades ago.

“Investment in transport is urgently needed, but the priority must be better trains, buses and cycling facilities, not an expensive road-building programme that will cause more traffic and air pollution and make it harder to tackle climate change.”

On the proposal to build a short tunnel under Stonehenge, Friends of the Earth south west campaigner Mike Birkin said:

“There is nothing to celebrate about a proposal that would inflict at least a mile of massively damaging-road building on the surface of our most iconic World Heritage Site.

“We have a global duty to safeguard the whole site. The international bodies who hold legal responsibility for World Heritage Sites have not even been consulted – and there are grave concerns about the damage a short tunnel could cause.”

*** In September this year Friends of the Earth Cymru launched a judicial review of the Welsh Government’s plans to build a six lane motorway through one of Wales’ most important wildlife habitats. ***


Notes to editors:

1. Biggest upgrade to roads in a generation – Department of Transport press release.

2.Tens of thousands of people die prematurely in Britain because of unlawful UK air pollution, which is mainly caused by road traffic. Last month the European Court of Justice ruled that Britain’s courts can order the UK Government to comply with EU nitrogen dioxide limits as soon as possible.

3. New M4 motorway may be unlawful – Friends of the Earth Cymru press release.

4. Friends of the Earth is a founder member of the Stonehenge Alliance which opposes plans for road-widening that would damage Britain’s most iconic World Heritage Site. The short tunnel under discussion would result in 1.5 km of major road widening  above ground and within the World Heritage Site. See

5. Autumn Statement: Chancellor must put our health, homes and quality of life first – Friends of the Earth press release.

6. For more than 40 years we’ve seen that the wellbeing of people and planet go hand in hand – and it’s been the inspiration for our campaigns. Together with thousands of people like you we’ve secured safer food and water, defended wildlife and natural habitats, championed the move to clean energy and acted to keep our climate stable. Be a Friend of the Earth – see things differently. For further information visit


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Published by Friends of the Earth Trust