Government Roads Announcement

AA response to updated roads programme

16 July 2008

traffic on a quiet motorway

The AA welcomed the fact that Government was making progress with their future plans to tackle road congestion but pointed out that a majority of motorists still need to be convinced of the benefits of paying to use additional motorway lanes.

Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly announced an update of the roads programme looking forward to 2014 (£6bn worth of funding) on 16 July and published the Command Paper 'Roads - Delivering Choice and Reliability' setting out more detail on plans to tackle congestion, both on strategic routes and in our towns and cities.

In essence it takes forward her speech of 4 March when she talked about "better managed motorways and more funding to tackle urban congestion".

Commenting, Edmund King, AA president, said:

"The AA is pleased that progress is being made on the roads and we look forward to studying the detail.

"We need a host of improvements to combat congestion. We reiterate our view that safety must be paramount when it comes to hard shoulder running and that we need to see adequate safe havens and overhead gantries. The M42 scheme worked well as much attention was paid to detail and the safety of drivers.

"Hard shoulder running is not a panacea for all our motorway congestion problems and we still believe that some motorways should be widened as this brings greater capacity and safety benefits".

He added; "Our AA Populus panel shows that a majority of motorists oppose charging a fee for single occupant cars on HOV lanes or indeed charging for new motorway construction. If these schemes are to go ahead the Government must convince motorists of the benefits in terms of reduced congestion and improved reliability. If motorists are not convinced these schemes will be seen as yet another tax.

"In terms of local congestion charging schemes we believe that the local population should decide whether such schemes should go ahead."

The AA/Populus panel of 17,500 members were asked their views on High Occupancy Toll (HOT) and High Occupancy Vehicle ( HOV) lanes back in April 2008.

"New high occupancy vehicle lanes should allow people driving on their own to use them for a fee that varies according to the level of traffic congestion – perhaps £5."

  • Support - 23%
  • Neither support nor oppose - 17%
  • Oppose - 58%
  • Don't know - 2%

"New motorway lanes and roads should be built and those that use them should pay tolls to pay for their construction."

  • Support - 31%
  • Neither support nor oppose - 14%
  • Oppose - 53%
  • Don't know - 2%

The Command Paper 'Roads - Delivering Choice and Reliability' is available on the DfT website

AA Public Affairs


16 July 2008