Letter: I have a go at Hepburn in the Journal, too

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn’s complaints about the A1 (Journal, 3rd March) are inconsistent with reality. He implies that between Newcastle and Edinburgh the A1 is exceptionally dangerous. However, the North of Newcastle Multi-Modal study concluded that the A1’s “…accident record is no worse than the national average for rural trunk roads”. Studies by the AA support this, rating the A1 as a ‘medium risk’ road, with not even a mention on the AA’s list of Britain’s most dangerous. Whilst this is no consolation for accident victims, Mr Hepburn should note that all roads are dangerous.

The suggestion that the A1’s single carriageway hampers economic growth is equally specious. The same multi-modal study found that “no evidence has been found to suggest wider economic development benefits would arise” from dualling the A1, and the Regional Assembly’s consultants Steer Davies Gleave reported that there is “…virtually no evidence that transport investment on its own can generate economic development”.

What is clear is that building more roads encourages more car use, bringing rising carbon dioxide emissions. On a planet facing the threat of climate change, building more roads is unsustainable and irresponsible.

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