Green Party Member of the European Parliament for the East of England, Catherine Rowett, slammed the announcement by the Conservative Party that £25bn more would be invested in roads as “environmental vandalism and economic folly”.
As part of the package outlined by the Chancellor Sajid Javid at the Conservative Party conference today, it was confirmed that construction on the A428 between Cambridge and Milton Keynes would start, while the A12, which connects London with Lowestoft would be widened.
Responding to the news, Green Party MEP, Catherine Rowett MEP said:
“We are experiencing a climate emergency. The old politics of the last century cannot continue. We need sustainable alternatives to the car. The new roads that have been outlined by the chancellor are akin to environmental vandalism and economic folly. The routes specified (especially the cross country routes from the East of England to Oxford and the Midlands) need efficient, frequent, and high capacity rail links, not roads.”
The chancellor also renewed his pledge from the spending round earlier this month to invest £220m into improved bus services in England – a sum which Dr Rowett said was “insulting”:
“We need a transport revolution where we invest in buses, trains, walking and cycling measures rather than just roads. We need the political will to make it happen, but the current government is devoid of the desire to make it a reality. The paltry amount promised today, a mere 1% of what is promised for roads, to improve buses and sustainable travel is quite frankly insulting.
“An appropriate response to our current situation would be to invest the £25bn in public transport. Imagine what a superb system we could have if it were properly funded to even a small proportion of what is wasted on subsidising people to go by car! What we need are new contributions to infrastructure such as dedicated bus lanes and cycling routes, not more provision for yet more cars.”