Headlines: December 4th, 2006

GOVERNMENT CALLED TO COUNT ENVIRONMENTAL COST OF ROAD SCHEMES

 

The Government is condemned today by leading environmental groups which have joined forces to criticise its failure to gather what they believe is crucial information on the environmental impact of road schemes. Friends of the Earth, Transport 2000, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Road Block have issued a joint statement questioning the Government’s commitment to the environment.

The organisations point out that transport ministers have declined to give the Commons details of how much carbon dioxide gas will be produced by recently approved road schemes. They have also refused to answer a question about the overall impact of the schemes on nationally designated landscapes and wildlife sites. In each case, today’s statement says, the MPs asking the questions were told the information could only be supplied at a disproportionate cost.

The statement says, “How can the Government be taking the environment and climate change seriously if it can’t be bothered to find out how much damage will be caused by the road schemes it has approved, and then putting the information in the public domain?” It claims ministers know the increase in traffic, and the road building that attempts to accommodate it, are among the greatest threats to the environment.

The campaigners say it is important to know about the increase in greenhouse gas emissions arising from the completion of road schemes and about the combined harm they are doing to National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, internationally designated nature reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. They argue that with both the Eddington report on transport and the Stern report on economics and the environment, contending that transport must pay its full environmental costs, the Government must measure and make public the full impact of its policies on climate change, treasured landscapes and wildlife.