Fw: Subject: New Roads Mean Job Losses
- From the BBC:
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
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
Sometimes roads have the opposite effect to that intended by stripping
work from local firms in the process of exposing them to outside
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.