Johnnie Elliott asks (26/12/14): “Can you imagine life without the M25?”. Easily!
In the 1970s/80s I often drove to Guildford, London and beyond. The narrow A21/A25 was fast in those days, unlike today’s “all roads lead to SLOW” engineered 20/30mph snail-trails. I worked in Uxbridge between 1985-1988. Before the M25 was completed between Leatherhead and Heathrow it took me around 3 hours from here. On completion, it saved 1/2 hour - wow! - but that brief advantage disappeared within weeks as congestion rocketed through ‘junction hopping’ causing delays at junctions, accidents and new lane construction. By spring 1988, it was often quicker cross-country!
Ring roads and by-passes are designed by government planners to allow in-fill development for more housing and industry ‘to boost GDP’. London’s rural North/South Circular of 1925 was fully subsumed by urban sprawl within 30 years; just as is increasingly the M20/M25. Unlike Robertsbridge by-pass, only around 5% of Hastings’ sea-front traffic is through-traffic.
The solution is simple, but it’s one no politician dares tackle. In pre-industrial 1700 there were approx 6 million people in Britain; 1800 13m, 1900 42m, 1970s 55m, today 62m with 73m projected by 2032! Our exponential rise in population increases naturally man-made (and industrial) CO2 and methane, plus demands on our roads, rail and countryside. Yet our dim-wit politicians eagerly tell us only 10% of Britain is built upon (about 2.5% by our 22 major cities; 2.5% by roads, railways and aerodromes), so we can’t object to more immigration or Clegg’s five new ‘Garden Cities’ - each the size of Romney Marsh with at least one in our ‘garden of England’. The impact on our countryside - our planet’s lungs - from the expansion of Hastings/Bexhill, Ashford, Maidstone is clear to see, but our politicians argue that with modern hydroponics we don’t need the countryside to grow food to feed these new millions. Enough is enough!
Our politicians are up for election in May... so Happy New Year!
Barry M Jones,
Bixley Lane, Beckley