John Knight's latest Talking Politics column for Macclesfield Express.

19 March 2018

Cheshire East have announced an extra £150,000 for road maintenance. Hopefully, this will go some way to improving the shocking state of our roads, filling in some of the potholes that can trip up unwary pedestrians and cause so much damage to lorries, buses, cars & bicycles (and their riders).

Just repairing the damage is not enough, though. As long as transport policy centres on private cars, traffic volumes will keep increasing, causing more and more damage to roads, as well as air quality and of course contributing to climate change.

The council have also agreed £2 million extra for road-building. Decades of experience have shown that new roads do not ease congestion in the long run; they actually encourage people to take more car journeys. In line with Parkinson’s Law, “traffic expands to fill the tarmac available”. Road-building schemes in Poynton, Adlington, Danes Moss & the Dane Valley will result in the wholesale destruction of wildlife habitats, for the sake of increasing the number of cars on the road.

At the same time, Cheshire East Council are cutting £1 million from bus subsidies, resulting in the further loss of many evening and weekend services. So, even more journeys will have to be made by private car.

Meanwhile, CEC’s Conservative friends in government are busy wasting billions on the HS2 “railway for the rich”. A vanity project first put forward by the last Labour Government, this has already cost over £2bn before a single piece of track has been laid, with the whole scheme currently costed at £56bn. Money that could otherwise be used locally - and up and down the country - in improving Sunday services, making fares affordable and opening new stations and lines (how about a Macclesfield-Crewe link?), instead of something that will see Macclesfield losing its direct London service.

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