WSCF supports Transport Action Network's challenge to the Government's massive road building programme

The Transport Action Network (TAN) is launching an action against the Department for Transport (DfT).    Their CrowdJustice page is now live.  

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TAN is a new national network with over 50 years of campaigning experience between its members.  It is formed to empower communities fighting destructive road schemes and bus cuts, in order to tackle climate change, reduce social inequality, improve air quality, and protect green spaces and nature.  It wants to challenge Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2), published on 11 March 2020 alongside the Budget.  Ministers described it as England’s “largest ever” road-building programme. It involves spending £27.4 billion by 2025 on thousands of miles of roads from Cornwall to Northumberland - at a time of climate and ecological emergency.

The WSCF wholeheartedly supports this initiative by SCATE. Even in ‘normal times’ this is a counterproductive and damaging move by HM Government. Experience shows that trying to build our way out of congestion and pollution always produces more vehicles on the roads than forecast – both the new and existing roads.

Instead of allocating massive amounts of resources – time, effort, and money – the WSCF believes that a similar scale of investment into active travel will result in reduced cost for the NHS/Social Care sector, a healthier population (mentally, physically, socially), a boost for the very local economy, and a significantly better benefit-to-cost ratio than roads. The benefits are so well known now.

We are not in ‘normal times’ just now. The experience of the last few weeks is that people, including individuals and families, are getting their bikes out of sheds, fixing them up and riding the cycle paths, and where they don’t exist - roads. Why? Because the perceived - and actual risk - of riding is reduced. And because - there are fewer vehicles on the road and cycling is a great way of getting about - as more and more people are discovering. Exercise comes as a bonus! Let’s not go back to the times when ordinary people were scared to ride a bike.

Investing in such a massive way for roads will inevitably lead to disappointment. Investing in active travel will lead to a transformed society – one that values quality of life for each of us.