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Fw: Subject: New Roads Mean Job Losses

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  • Simon Baddeley
    From the BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/newsid_735000/735658.stm Thursday, 4 May, 2000, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK Business lobby groups urging road-building
    Message 1 of 1 , May 6, 2000
      From the BBC:
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/newsid_735000/735658.stm
      Thursday, 4 May, 2000, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK

      Business lobby groups urging road-building to bring jobs to depressed
      areas could soon face a more difficult task. The government is to
      announce on Thursday that councils will have to prove that the roads
      will actually benefit their local economy.

      It follows a report from government advisers that some new roads might
      actually suck jobs away from run-down areas.

      The announcement could prove significant for government spending
      plans, with Ministers due to reveal details of their 10-year capital
      programme for transport in the next few months.

      In the past a local council simply had to claim that a road was needed
      to regenerate an area in order to get the road scheme considered by
      government.

      But an official advisory group known as SACTRA - the Standing Advisory
      Committee on Trunk Road Assessment - said this practice was flawed.

      The technical experts on the committee said they could find no
      consistent evidence that new roads really did bring jobs to run-down
      areas.

      Sometimes roads have the opposite effect to that intended by stripping
      work from local firms in the process of exposing them to outside
      competition.

      Rather than simply building a new road, the government should consider
      whether traffic restraint or road pricing would do the trick - or
      whether any available money should be spent on job-creation solutions
      that didn't involve new transport links at all.

      The government will likely accept many of the findings of the SACTRA
      report and insist that councils wanting new roads are forced to prove
      that they'll have the job creation benefit the councils intend.

      Ministers declined to comment on the publication of the government's
      response to SACTRA, but one member of the committee, Phil Goodwin
      Professor of Transport Studies at University College London, said that
      the tone of the response suggested that civil servants had accepted
      many of the conclusions.

      He told Radio 4 Today Programme that it was possible that some
      road-building might benefit local economies, but that from now
      councils should be expected to make a sound economic case rather than
      simply expressing a belief that a road would bring jobs because that
      was demanded by local businesses.
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