Alliance against road building
PRESS RELEASE 13th March 2006
ROAD BLOCK WELCOMES NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE INVESTIGATION INTO ROADS PROGRAMME
Reacting to news today  that the National Audit Office have confirmed they are undertaking an investigation into the rapidly rising cost of the roads programme, Rebecca Lush of Road Block said:
"We are delighted that the NAO have agreed to the Liberal Democrat's request for an investigation into the extraordinary rising cost of the roads programme. The government has been too ready to approve schemes by accepting local authority or Highways Agency underestimates. Predictably, the costs then rise throughout the planning processes. When tenders come back the price goes up again, with the final cost after construction going up further. This is an absolute scandal."
It has been revealed in Parliamentary Questions by Tom Brake MP that there has been a 42% increase in the total cost of the roads programme (almost £1.5 billion) since schemes were first approved .
"The cost of building roads is set to rise rapidly, as materials costs and the price of oil are only going to get higher. It is time to call a halt to roadbuilding and instead invest in low cost measures that will reduce travel, and cut greenhouse gas emissions."
"The government have been too ready to approve road schemes pushed by local authorities and the Highways Agency, who routinely deliberately underestimate the costs in order to acquire approval"
"It is time for the Treasury during the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 to cut the wasteful roads budget".
The government are set in May to make important announcements on the approval of several controversial new road schemes, including the Heysham M6 Link (Lancaster Northern Bypass) currently priced at £108 million . This scheme will damage Green Belt and bring more noise and pollution to 2000 homes. Local residents complain the council's case or the road is deeply flawed, and the government should not approve the scheme, and not award funding.
Notes to Editors:
 Text of letter from Sir John Bourn KCB, Comptroller and Auditor General, National Audit Office (to Tom Brake MP, dated 6th March 2006 responding to letter requesting an investigation dated 3rd February 2006)
In connection with cost escalation on roads schemes, colleagues are confirming the extent and reasons for cost increases on the two types of road schemes: Highways Agencys Targeted Programme of Improvement Schemes, and local authority schemes funded by the Department of Transport under the Local Transport Plan major schemes process. My colleague, Jill Goldsmith, Director of Transport Value for Money work, will contact you to discuss the scope of the work in hand.
 Costs revealed in a PQ by Tom Brake MP on 19 Dec 2005
Tables showing the increases can be seen here
 The local resident's group, Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe website shows proposed alternative solutions that do not include an expensive and destructive road - http://heyshamm6link.info/