Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Autumn Statement: visionless

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George Osbourne's Autumn Statement could have been used as an opportunity to put our economy on the right road. This chance was wasted. It could have been used to set us on the road away from the unequal, unfair, wasteful and polluting rat race we have – it did not. It could have helped create a way of life we can afford in both economic, social and environmental terms – it did not. It could have helped create the jobs that need people, by building on the resources of the people – it did not.

It could have helped to build a more self-reliant and stable economy – instead we are still reliant on a system of international finance which cannot last much longer. It could have started to establish an economy which can be sustained into the future, without killing our environment and exploiting the people – it did not. Instead the Chancellor produced a statement totally lacking is any vision of a better society at all. Actually pretty much par for the course as far as such statements - and budgets - go.

George Monbiot – Big Farmer

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George Monbiot – Big Farmer

South Bristol link road bulldozed through (along with many others)

The Treasury neatly side-stepped a year's work by experts, campaigners and civil servants on 45 local transport projects in the DfT's 'development pool' the Chancellor announced he was providing funding for all 45 schemes and gave the go-ahead to the Kingskerswell Bypass and the South Bristol Link Road to grab headlines...

...As well as the Kingskerswell Bypass and the South Bristol Link Road, the go-ahead was also given to the Lincoln Eastern Bypass, the A164 Humber Bridge to Beverley, and the A43 Corby Link Road...

We are all justifiably angry as ourselves, the Kingskerswell Alliance and Transport for Greater Bristol had hired consultants to produce an evidence-based response to the funding bids showing major flaws in the plans. Instead it appears the schemes have been bulldozed through to allow the Chancellor to do some headline grabbing posturing today.

Analysis of the Kingskerswell Bypass showed that it would simply move traffic jams further down the road. It would also be environmentally devastating, trashing the habitats of rare bats, birds and newts. The South Bristol Link Road will at best shave just 2 minutes off journey times, and passes through Common Land and the green belt.

This is unlikely to be the end of the road for the campaigns as there are grounds for legal challenges now, and later there will most likely be protests.

Roads blog Campaign for Better Transport