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Last Updated: Monday, 28 November 2005, 11:54 GMT
Cash for congestion charge study
Digby Jones
Digby Jones says the government needs to invest in roads
The government is to fund a study into how to tackle congestion on UK roads.

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling is expected to reveal more details of the plan at the CBI conference on Monday.

The organisation has called for major improvements to the national transport system after its research showed delays are causing stress among workers.

Studies are planned for Gtr Manchester, Bristol, Bath, Cambridgeshire, Tyne and Wear, Somerset and Gloucestershire, Durham, West Midlands and Shrewsbury.

A survey showed more than half of UK businesses believe the network is worse now than it was five years ago.

'Absolute gridlock'

The local authorities are expected to share more than 7m to explore new ways to tackle local congestion.

"Unless we look at that, we will have huge problems - absolute gridlock - in 20 or 30 years' time," Mr Darling told the BBC.

The CBI's director general, Sir Digby Jones, blamed what he called a decrepit and outdated planning regime which gave top priority to environmental arguments.

M6 Toll Road toll plaza
Motorists already pay to use the M6 Toll road

He said the government needed to invest much more cash.

Mr Darling acknowledged people wanted to see faster progress in improving the transport infrastructure on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

He said more was being spent on the roads, railways and other parts of the system.

The first stage will be a major feasibility study to develop a congestion management strategy which is expected to be published next year.

John McGoldrick, of the National Alliance Against Tolls, said the money would be better spent on solutions to current traffic flow.

"Almost no one wants tolls," he said.

"Today the CBI, though they are in favour of tolls, released a survey which showed that only one fifth back tolls."

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