Business groups herald plans for road upgrades

Marion Dakers
AMBITIOUS plans for the city’s roads were broadly welcomed yesterday, though some groups said a close eye must be kept on the cost of the £30bn vision.

The Roads Task Force report, commissioned by the Mayor, has called for several big projects to ease congestion and free up space, including a tunneled and tolled inner ring road, night time freight traffic and more provision for cyclists.

Transport for London, which will shoulder some of the cost of the 20-year roadmap, said it supported the plans and will work on major improvements at Vauxhall, Waterloo, Elephant & Castle and Old Street as set out in the report.

TfL has already budgeted for £4bn to upgrade London’s road and street network over the next decade.

TfL also supported a proposal to encourage more road use outside peak hours, which could mean an end to night-time restrictions on lorries. Overnight deliveries were trialled during last year’s Olympic Games, under the supervision of the transport body.

The Freight Transport Association said it was in favour of more flexible road use for hauliers, adding that “too many deliveries are forced into the morning peak”.

The task force also calls for a study on a blanket 20mph speed limit across central London and more crossings over the Thames.

Its plans will be examined over the next two or three years.

The CBI backed the proposals but added that “the key is to maintain affordability and choice for business and individual users”.

And some London Assembly members including Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon said the tunnelling plan to create an underground ring road was unaffordable.