For those of you who don’t like roads – look away now – but if like me you think good roads are better than bad roads and the freedom that comes with them far outweighs the convenience of a late train, read on. The following (*mini-rant* warning), which I posted on John Redwood’s blog earlier today, picks up on points I’ve made in previous posts about the need to improve our cross-country road links, to boost the regional economies outside London and the South East.
Money for HS2 could be better spent on building an M75 motorway round 3/4 of London and the South East.
This would link Southampton with the Midlands by upgrading the A34 /A43 to Northampton and Kettering (with a spur heading on to the A1 – the not-so-great north road – at Stamford).
At Kettering the M75 would turn east and run along the line of an upgraded A14 (also called the new M6 extension linking Liverpool and Birmingham with Felixstowe/Harwich). This in turn would connect with an upgraded A12/A130 /A13 linking the Suffolk ports with the new DP World London Gateway port, Tilbury docks and the Port of London.
This would effectively create a modern road network linking four of our biggest ports – it would improve links between the regions (so boosting the wider economy) and take some pressure off the M25.
Any spare change (or new funds) should be used to build an M100 – linking Bournemouth with Bath (via the route of the A350) – Bath with Leicester (via A429/M69) – and Leicester with Kings Lynn, Great Yarmouth (and the East of England Energy Zone) via an upgraded A47 – which would link with the top of the (previously upgraded) A12 .
The Treasury could fund all this by issuing 100 year infrastructure bonds (pension funds would probably like these for matching to increased longevity risk) – so the generations to come, who will benefit most, will pay some of the cost.
Now that’s joined up, long term thinking.