Friday, July 31, 1998 Published at 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
More than 100 road schemes shelved
Reid: may charge motorists for using trunk roads
More than 100 roads schemes are being shelved by the government as part of its review of major roads.
Construction of those 37 projects is expected to begin within the next seven yeas while many of the other building plans will remain under review.
The move means that many towns and villages will now not get long-awaited by-passes.
Dr Reid also told the Commons the government was looking at options "for charging users on trunk roads and using the revenue to maintain and improve the network".
M25 and Stonehenge
Confirmation was given that the M25 widening scheme between junctions 12 (the M3 junction) and 15 (the M4 junction) would go ahead but two other M25 widening schemes between junctions 15 and 19 were cancelled.
The transport minister said that in future there would be a strong presumption against affecting environmentally sensitive sites by new roads and the new programme will reduce from 49 to eight the number of Sites of Special Scientific Interest affected.
Calls for more investment
John Dawson, AA policy director, said: "Where is the priority for transport? Where is the investment in the infrastructure that was promised by the chancellor and deputy prime minister just a week ago?
"We are already spending only half of what our European neighbours spend on transport. After four major road reviews in four years, the UK has become the transport backwater of Europe.
"We need investment in both roads and public transport to run a modern, integrated transport system. The government is robbing Peter to pay Paul."
But the London Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the review.
A spokesman said it was particularly pleased about the decision to widen part of the M25 as it would reduce congestion in surrounding towns.
"The government has obviously decided that expensive road building is not the right answer which we support to some extent.
"We believe, like the government, that better use of the existing road network, together with improvements in public transport is a better solution."
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