The UK government does not do joined-up thinking very well. We have declared a climate emergency and committed the country to world-beating climate change policy and at the same time we are spending approximately £34 billion to make things worse.
This is the cost of the national road building plan known as RIS2 (£27 billion) and the cost of local roads promoted by councils (£7 billion). We are repeatedly told in Covid-19 times that the government follows science. The additional carbon dioxide emissions generated by road building and increased traffic on the new roads is well-documented by scientists and ignored by government. The government ignores science. Even worse, government and the majority of councils reject non-road building ways of solving transport problems.
If we really were committed to reducing climate damaging carbon emissions as we agreed in Paris or we really were committed to net zero carbon by 2050 we would cancel road building and switch all the funding to world-best joined up thinking about transport. Once again science is important.
Apparently we are committed in the UK to improve public health and to reduce deaths and serious injuries in the road traffic environment. And yet we have some of the poorest quality walking and cycling infrastructure in Europe, plus road traffic danger that deters a switch from cars to bikes and feet.
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Scientific evidence shows that reducing speed to an enforced 20mph on roads where pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles mix reduces the chance of death or serious injury to 5 per cent of those hit by a vehicle. At 30mph, 45 per cent of those hit by vehicles die or are seriously injured.