The way ahead

27 May 2019

The Darlington and Stockton Times (D&S) reported recently on the launch of a consultation on the A66 upgrade, which appears to take it for granted that the remaining single-carriageway sections will be dualled at a cost of a billion pounds. It added a leader on the topic under the headline ‘Just get on with it’. Obviously road safety is important, and traffic accidents can have tragic consequences, but I don’t think that spending a billion pounds on dualling the remaining sections of the road is a good use of our money.

We are in a global overheating emergency. That billion-pound budget could be spent electrifying railways in the north of England, replacing diesel engines that emit carbon dioxide and lung-damaging particulates.

By all means do what is necessary to make dangerous junctions safer. As the D&S also reported, modest changes to the Ravensworth junction, and a speed limit, may be all that is needed.

To allow the road-building industry to continue to work its way round the country, dualling every road that hasn’t yet been dualled, is a business-as-usual approach. To cope with the climate emergency, this business-as-usual approach is not nearly good enough. We need new thinking, on transport and on all other aspects of the economy and society, to move as quickly as possible to a zero-carbon future.

John Yorke, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Richmond constituency