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ROADS AND THE COUNTRYSIDE - CPRE REPORT

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The Association of County Councils today reaffirmed its full commitment to forging a sustainable, environmentally-f...
The Association of County Councils today reaffirmed its full commitment to forging a sustainable, environmentally-friendly transport strategy for Britain.

Commenting on a new CPRE report on roads and the countryside, the associations environment chairman Derek Bateman said the ACC shares much common ground with the CPRE.

'We and our member counties were among the firs and strongest voices calling for a change in transport policy, reducing the need to travel, breaking the vicious circle of car dependency and shifting the emphasis heavily away from road building towards greater use of public transport, cycling and walking.

'But we have never said, nor do we believe, that there should be a total stop to road building. It is for the county councils concerned to comment on the merits of the particular schemes, which the CPRE have criticised. If a local highway authority looks at the whole case for and against a scheme, considers the possible alternatives and concludes that the scheme is the best solution, then it is right to go ahead.

'In many cases, notably where rural bypasses are concerned, the people in the villages already suffering heavy traffic see it that way too. In these cases, where through traffic is already a fact, it will continue whether or not the by-pass is built. So long as the net environmental balance is positive, we have always been on record as saying that this is where investment should be targeted.

'A balance always has to be struck between people and their quality of life and the environment. That is what county councils are striving to do. And that is what they will continue to do.

'On Monday, the ACC, ADC and AMA launched a new report called Local Government on the Move. It is a framework for the national transport strategy this country needs. And it highlights local government's commitment to achieving this goal, protecting the environment and improving the quality of life for our residents.

'What is needed now is for the government to work in partnership with local government to build such a sustainable transport strategy for the future, encompassing planning, environmental and funding concerns. That way both people and the environment will be the winners,' said Mr Bateman.

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