Government reforms to the planning system could almost double peak time tail backs on the UK’s roads according to figures released by Campaign for Better Transport today (Tuesday 30th August).
Research commissioned by the group shows that scrapping controls on where office development can be sited could lead to major congestion due to new large-scale business parks springing up in out-of-town locations.
The campaign group reckons that each business park will increase traffic at its nearest motorway junction by 16 per cent, which it equates to filling another motorway lane. It suggests that this could almost double journey delays from 3.6 minutes per ten miles to 6.4 minutes, which could cost £250 million.
Stephen Joseph, Campaign for Better Transport’s chief executive, said: “Far from helping economic growth, our research shows that the draft planning framework could actually end up damaging the economy through increased congestion as new office developments move out of town centres and spring up next to motorways and other big roads.
“No one wants to be stuck in bank holiday style traffic jams twice a day just to do a day’s work. We need to encourage new development, but not at any price and the expense of delays and congestion on transport networks needs to be fully considered when planning new developments.”
The research is in reaction to the publication of the government’s draft National Planning Policy Framework, which removes the “town centre first” principle for office developments. It examined the effect of building 34 new 100-acre business parks along a 175 mile stretch of the M1.