Memorandum submitted by the Group Against
Motorway Expansion (GAME)
Although in 2004, the Department for Transport
adopted a Public Service Agreement (PSA) committing itself "to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 12.5% below 1990 levels in
line with [the] Kyoto commitment and move towards a 20% reduction
in carbon dioxide emissions below 1990 levels by 2010", in
fact carbon emissions from transport are expected to grow by about
10% from 2000 levels by 2010. Thus transport's share of total
emissions is likely to increase substantially, as emissions from
other sectors are due to fall.
Despite all this, the government are still continuing
with the plans announced in 2004 that they would be expanding
the M6 between Cannock (junction 11a) and Knutsford (Junction
19)either by widening or building a private tolled expressway.
Knowing that this expansion of the motorway
system will only add to the problem of this carbon dioxide driven
global warming, environmental activists in Stafford formed the
"Group Against Motorway Expansion" (GAME). We decided
to oppose all and any form of expansion to the road network of
Great Britain, but specifically the M6 between Cannock and Knutsford.
Our attitude is not that of a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) nor
are we anti-progress.
We regard expansion of the M6 as regressivenot
progressive. Progress looks to the future, M6 expansion doesn't.
One of the most progressive things we can do is to plan now for
For some reason, expanding the M6 is seen as
a solution to the problem of road congestion. We believe that
it is doubtful that expansion of this relatively short section
of the M6 will help the situation at all.
Motorway expansion is not the solution that
it's cracked up to be. Instead, GAME suggests a two pronged approach:
Short term measures and longer-term measures. In the longer term
society must stop pumping fumes into the atmosphere. Do we really
want to tarmac the countryside and make everywhere else into parking
spaces? Progress demands that the amount of traffic has to be
reduced. We need to take all steps to reduce the need for transportation
of both humans and goods - and when transport is necessary, public
transport systems should be provided.
In the shorter term, in order to tide us over
until these long-term measures start taking effect, there are
numerous motorway traffic management techniques that are already
in use or in various stages of development in this country and
around the world. We should introduce them here as soon as possible.
In particular we support the Government's intention to introduce
road user charging, and feel this could have a major impact on
traffic levels on the M6 as an alternative to expanding the motorway
which would help rather than hinder the DfT's commitment to reducing
Another example of a relatively short-term measure
is the diversion of a lot of the motorway traffic onto the railway
(by government monetary incentives), a measure that would have
an almost immediate impact.
GAME cannot be exact about the best way forward,
but road building is certainly NOT the answer. It would only exacerbate
the problem. It is imperative to stop building roads now. GAME
admits that the solution will not be an easy processbut
the longer that the inevitable decision to stop building more
and more roads is put off, then the more difficult and painful
it will be when eventually global environmental crises force us
to cut down on transportation.
If we intend to leave a planet worth living
on to the children of our grandchildren, then we have to do something