A Conservative majority government seemed far-fetched just a few days ago, and even right up until the final opinion polls came in. But the nation – and its motorists – have spoken, so what does our current government mean for our roads? And what might we have missed out on?
Extra lanes on our roads
Well, the Conservative party manifesto makes some big promises about road improvements, including a £15bn fund to build 1300 miles of extra lanes on our roads. On top of that, the money will also be used to repair any potholes on the existing network. It’s something that Britain’s road network is crying out for but it’ll clearly take time to implement.
Thinking even further in to the future, is the Conservatives’ plan to transform the roads in to ‘almost’ zero emissions zones by 2050. There’s still 35 years to figure out the details but a pledge of £500m to get things started at least shows there’s willing. Any new technology needs an infrastructure, be it electric or hydrogen, and that’s where the government’s input is desperately needed.
What were the other parties promising?
So far, so good. But what were the other parties promising? Labour’s motoring promises were vague, saying it would “support long-term investment on strategic roads, address the neglect on local roads and promote cycling.” A little more specific was UKIP, which said it would abolish hotel parking charges and give cars more than 25 years old exemption from road tax.
Then there was the Green Party’s proposal to reassign the £15bn set aside by the Conservatives to invest it in public transport, walking and cycling – as well as the repair of existing roads. The Green Party also wanted 20mph limits in all residential areas, with speed camera to enforce them.
Improve the road network and help reduce emissions
From the manifestos it seems like the Conservatives have got their priorities in order, and if they can follow through with their promises to improve the road network and help reduce emissions, then that’s a really positive step forward.
As ever, though, promises can be hollow, and it’s worth remembering there’s still fuel duty, road tax and various other motoring costs that haven’t been directly addressed in the party manifestos. We suspect UK motorists will be just as suspicious of their politicians as ever.