The HS2 Hypocrisy, some say betrayal of road users and FairFuelUK’s support for the Conservatives to be re-elected may have been misplaced

Dear Prime Minister, Chancellor and Transport Minister.

On behalf of 1.7m supporters, I’d appreciate you read our evidence for significant investment into our crumbling roads infrastructure versus the huge investment in HS2. Our supporters were encouraged by FairFuelUK to vote for the Conservative Party in the G Election.

Please see my comments, in the Sun article shown here, as a chosen expert on transport, published just before December 12. You can see what I said about Labour forming a Government and their detrimental impact on UK’s 37m drivers.

Prime Minister, Chancellor and Transport Minister , please be mindful of what the public feel about HS2 and your long-term roads strategy too. I do hope you have the courtesy to respond to this considered email. Many thanks for your time and reflection in reading this informative email.

Evidence: In the largest ever survey of UK drivers (71,447 responses in FairFuelUK’s December 2019/January 2020 Poll), 2 out of 3 said HS2 should be scrapped. Only 17.5% are firmly in favour of HS2 going ahead with 18% being indecisive. 9 out of 10 drivers want a significant increase in spending on new and existing roads PLUS public transport for ALL the UK, at similar levels of investment currently planned on building HS2, in order to reduce congestion, improve air quality and benefit national and local economies. 91% want the Government to produce a Long-Term Roads Transport Plan. Covering taxation, funding, technology and investment. That’s fair to drivers and without cliff edge vehicle ban targets.

2 years ago, FairFuelUK commissioned the CEBR to ascertain, what the same level of HS2 investment if spent on UK roads would mean to the economy when compared to funding HS2. We are in the process of updating the findings to the current date. But so far, the picture has not changed. Here are the key findings of their report.

1. Roads are the most important element of the UK’s transport system – in 2015, 89% of all distance travelled was made on roads, 83% of which was by car.

2. Long-term trends show road use has risen considerably over time – total miles travelled by road increased almost nine-fold from 1950 to 2015. Yet, road length grew just 33% over this time.

3. While fuel price rises and recessions have slowed car usage in the short-term, road use is on the up – total traffic volume on UK roads will increase 12% between 2015 and 2025.

4. Rail investment is almost nine times that of road investment per mile – £186,000 was spent on rail infrastructure for every million miles of passenger travel, compared to £21,000 for road spending.

5. The average delay on the UK’s Strategic Road Network, responsible for around two thirds of all haulage, was 9 seconds per mile in 2016, or 4.9 days lost per person in the UK.

6. Congestion is extremely costly to the UK economy – delays costs drivers lost wasted time and petrol, as well as pushing up the cost of doing business. We estimate the total cost of road congestion to be £307 billion from 2013 to 2030 in the UK.

7. Road congestion in cities holds back local growth – in the UK’s top ten most congested cities, at least 30% of time is added to the average journey by car through delays.

8. Road investment is better value for money – Road investments return average benefits of £4.50 in per pound spent, compared to £2.83 for rail.

9. Well targeted road investment reduces congestion – Technology such as Active Traffic Management systems can help reduce delays cost-effectively.

10. Had the same investment of HS2 been spent on road, based on historic averages for road investment, there would be benefits of £251 billion. For the cost of HS2, it would be possible to widen over 1,900 miles of motorway, every motorway in England.

Those CEBR findings are even more relevant today

The CEBR report proved that chronic under investment in roads is risking public health and productivity, with traffic congestion draining £307bn from the UK Economy.

Had the same investment (£55bn) budgeted at the time in 2017 (now double that) for HS2 been directed into roads, there would be benefits of £250.7 billion to the economy. This is more than four times the expected net benefits of the entire HS2 network.

Simply diverting investment from roads to other forms of transport is unlikely to solve the environmental issues in the transport sector. In fact, it is likely to exacerbate them.

Kind Regards Howard Cox Founder of FairFuel

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