Press Notice - 30.11.2009
Will government take The Right Route?
At an event today Green Alliance will launch a report The right route: improving transport decision-making. The report assesses five real-life case studies to see how they would fare under the government’s revised transport appraisal framework and decision-making process.
The report calls for urgent changes for the benefit of the taxpayer and environment alike and finds:
- the decision-making process is far from transparent and lacks co-ordination across regions
- there is an absence of reliable data and a lack of co-ordination in the decision-making process
- insufficient attention is given to alternative schemes that could offer better value for money for the tax payer
- individual road schemes are being developed without proper consideration being given to schemes that get people out of their cars and reduce congestion that may be significantly more cost effective.
Green Alliance recommends that government:
- reassess all the approved/proposed transport schemes to test value for money, using a revised cost-benefit analysis model.
- reform the decision-making process so that it is more accountable, transparent and joined-up
- consider the alternatives in each appraisal to ensure that the best value for money scheme is selected
- create an independent body to evaluate the solutions to transport problems considering wider government objectives such as reducing emissions and improving health
- reform the transport appraisal model further to take better account of the impact of any proposed scheme on national carbon targets
Thomas Lingard, Green Alliance deputy director, says:
“Transport infrastructure affects all our lives and getting it right is critical both for the shift to a low carbon economy and our well-being. Green Alliance's report, The Right Route, highlights a number of weaknesses in the current approach to transport appraisal. Our report sets out the steps we believe are necessary to ensure that investments in transport infrastructure meet the current and future needs of people around the country.
David Price, Cambridge resident, father of two small children and one of the five case studies featured in the report says:
“The cost to the taxpayer for the proposed A14 road scheme is expected to be in the order of £1.2 billion. If approved it will mean drivers will have to spend more on fuel as the proposed road is longer than the existing one. I wonder if those that propose such schemes are truly competent. In addition, it would mean local residents will suffer from noise pollution, a chronic decrease in air quality and an increased risk of their homes being flooded.”
Stephen Joseph, Executive Director of Campaign for Better Transport, comments:
“This report shows the way government appraises transport schemes has a huge effect on what gets funded and built. This appraisal framework must be changed if transport is to cut its carbon emissions and people and communities are to be unhooked from car dependence.”
Rachel Cary, senior policy officer: firstname.lastname@example.org ; 020 7630 4522 / 07929670213
Matthew Davis, media adviser: email@example.com ; 07758 300 007
 Theresa Villiers MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport will be the keynote speaker at the launch event. The other panel members taking part will be Stephen Joseph, executive director, Campaign for Better Transport, Neil Scales, chief executive and director general, Mersey Travel and Thomas Lingard, deputy director, Green Alliance.
The event will take place at Monday 30 November 2009, 2 – 4pm at the Hinton Room, One Birdcage Walk, London SW1H 9JJ
 Green Alliance is an environmental think tank and charity working to ensure UK political leaders deliver ambitious solutions to global environmental issues. Green Alliance was named Think Tank of the Year in the 2009 Public Affairs News awards.
 Download the report here
 To decide which transport schemes to fund, the Department for Transport (DfT) uses an appraisal framework that includes a form of cost-benefit analysis. This was revised and broadened in 1998, but still favoured road schemes. Green Alliance and Campaign for Better Transport published a report in 2008, which supported a revision of the appraisal model. Some of the recommendations were taken on board but there are still fundamental flaws in the cost-benefit analysis model.