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Government to rethink £27bn road building strategy because of ‘changes to travel’ after Covid

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Boris Johnson’s authorities will evaluation its £27bn roads funding plan because of “fundamental” adjustments in journey patterns introduced on by the Covid pandemic, the transport secretary has introduced.

Grant Shapps stated it was proper to look once more on the strategy to broaden the road community – arguing that the rise in homeworking and on-line purchasing was unlikely to be “fully reversed” even because the economic system recovers from lockdowns.

“In the last eighteen months, fundamental changes have occurred in commuting, shopping, and business travel,” the minister stated in a written assertion on Thursday.

Mr Shapps added: “Trends already underway in homeworking, online shopping, and videoconferencing, all of which had reduced trip rates even before the pandemic, have dramatically increased, and seem unlikely to be fully reversed.”

The authorities will now evaluation its nationwide coverage assertion (NPS) for main road schemes “in the light” of these tendencies in commuting and purchasing, stated Mr Shapps.

The transfer was given a cautious welcome by the local weather campaigners who had demanded the federal government’s “outdated” roads strategy was up to date to mirror commitments to deal with local weather change.

Transport Action Network had accused the Department for Transport (DfT) of failing to take account of the Paris Agreement, which commits the UK to take measures to restrict international warming to effectively under 2C.

But the group is indignant that the coverage for main road schemes is not going to be suspended whereas the rethink introduced by Mr Shapps takes place. The transport secretary stated the evaluation could be accomplished “no later than spring 2023”.

Chris Todd, director of Transport Network Action, stated: “We’ve been calling on Grant Shapps to reset national roads policy for nearly a year and a half. Having now finally accepted the inevitable, he is still fiddling while the planet burns.”

Mr Todd added: “For the next two years, existing policy … will remain in force. It is simply unacceptable to refuse to suspend that.

“We need a moratorium on all road-building until such a review is completed. Quite simply, we need the Department for Transport to stop making things worse.”

Caroline Russell, the Green Party’s transport spokesperson, stated: “The pandemic has changed working, shopping and travel patterns and it is good the government has recognised this in their decision to review the £27bn road building plans – but they should pause the plans immediately rather than wait to complete their review.”

Despite the introduced evaluation, the federal government has made clear it has not dedicated to slicing the £27bn budgeted for road building and road renewal as half of its Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2), set out in 2020.

Transport Action Network not too long ago launched a authorized problem in opposition to the RIS2 spending dedication on local weather grounds. After a High Court listening to in June, the judgment is anticipated inside weeks.

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