Saturday, 19 May 2012

West Kent and the religion of the car.

It is an article of faith amongst councils in West Kent that every effort must be made to accommodate the car. Pedestrians, cyclists and public transport all take second place to keeping cars moving along our road network,
To that end Kent County Council and West Kent politicians robustly promote the dualling of the A21. In doing so they ignore the experience of the rest of the country and research which shows that building roads does not relieve congestion, it simply encourages more car journeys.

Remember the roads protests of the 1990s? The Newbury bypass was strongly opposed by protestors camping out in beautiful countryside which has now disappeared – and what for?

The Highways Agency and the councils involved commissioned a traffic study five years after the bypass was built: the result building the bypass had attracted additional traffic which used to use alternative routes. 

In consultant speak ‘the primary response to this scheme has been re-assignment from other strategic routes serving the southern part of England’. The public enquiry into the bypass had underestimated the traffic increases which would result from building the bypass: a common error at such enquiries. Read the full report at:

’Building new roads really does create extra traffic' is an academic report which confirms  that new roads soon fill up because they simply attract more traffic.The report can be found at:

We really don’t need to spend more than £100 million on dualling which will provide no long term benefit. Instead we should be spending the money on more cycling routes, repairing pavements and even filling in some of the many potholes on Kent’s roads.

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