The LGA has launched a report looking at the costs and consequences of rising congestion on our roads. The report features the steps that the Government could take to work with councils to ensure that the traffic growth is both better managed, congestion is reduced and our air quality problems are tackled. The LGA is also calling on the Government to give greater long term funding certainty to local authorities so that they can deliver the same improvements to local networks that strategic national bodies like Highways England and Network Rail are looking to deliver.
Draft press release below – feel free to amend for local use:
AVERAGE DRIVER SPENDS NEARLY £1,000 AND WASTES ALMOST FIVE DAYS STUCK IN TRAFFIC A YEAR
The average motorist is being forced to waste £968 and spend 4.9 days stuck in traffic each year because of congestion, local Liberal Democrats have said.
This follows a report by the Local Government Association – ‘A country in a jam: tackling congestion in our towns and cities’ – which reveals the extent of the country’s congestion crisis.
Travel speeds across the country’s local roads continue to decrease, with the average speed on ‘A’ roads now just 25.2 mph, 1 per cent less than it was this time last year. Congestion also significantly contributes to excess harmful vehicle emissions – which leads to 40,000 premature deaths annually.
Local Lib Dems are warning that congestion is no longer just threatening our environment and the quality of our air, but also becoming a drain on our economy and productivity too. It is forecasting that congestion will cost the economy £300 billion a year by 2030 –a tenfold increase of the current costs of £30.8 billion a year.
The LGA said councils need the same sort of long term funding certainty for local roads maintenance that is enjoyed by Highways England and Network Rail. This is desperately needed to help councils tackle the £12 billion national roads repair backlog and congestion they face on local roads.
Bus travel also needs to be actively encouraged. The Government needs to fully fund the concessionary fares scheme and give councils control over the Bus Service Operators’ Grant. This fuel duty rebate, currently paid directly to bus operators, would enable councils to protect vital bus routes, and give them the funding they need to provide an effective and efficient bus service.
Councils, outside London, also need powers enforce moving traffic offences so they can target notoriously congested junctions or stretches of road where safety concerns have been raised.
[YOUR NAME] said:
“Congestion can have a significant impact on our towns, cities and communities, and act as a drag on local growth [GIVE GOOD LOCAL EXAMPLE HERE]. Worse still, it can lead to toxic air and reduced quality of life.
“When the average motorist is spending a working week every year sat in traffic, and losing almost a £1,000 in the process, it’s clear that councils need to be able to do more to tackle this growing problem.
Councils need long-term consistent funding to invest in local roads and need greater powers to solve the problem and introduce attractive alternatives to car journeys, such as through public transport, walking and cycling.
“This will help those that need to use the roads as well as those that have to live with the consequences of congestion.”
Notes to editors: A copy of the survey can be found here: https://www.local.gov.uk/tackling-congestion