UKIP Transport spokesman Jill Seymour today called for toll charges to be scrapped on the M6 to relieve growing pressure on the region’s clogged-up commuter routes. She was responding to a new Department for Transport survey which revealed that traffic on major A-roads in the West Midlands is now moving up to 20 per cent slower than this time last year.
“Rush-hour traffic is down to a snail’s pace across many parts of the region, and is costing hauliers hundreds of millions of pounds in lost revenue,” she said.
“The situation has become so serious that some businesses are deciding they have no option but to move away. It’s an embarrassing black mark on the heart of England, which has always marketed transport links as one of its biggest strengths to inward investors.”
She added: “UKIP wants to scrap the M6 Toll. Allowing motorists to use the route without being charged would take pressure off the many other local roads which are currently in danger of grinding to a complete halt.
“I fully support the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, which is calling for better use of strategic assets such as the M6 Toll to relieve the pressure on local roads.
“It is time for the Department of Transport, and local authorities, to think more creatively. The longer they delay, the more money our under-pressure transport companies are losing.”
Figures from the Department for Transport survey show average rush hour speeds on some major commuter routes in the West Midlands has fallen as low as 8.7mph.
Among the roads worst affected are the A4030, A4034, A4092 and A34 in Sandwell, plus the A4100 in Dudley, the A4150 and A459 in Wolverhampton, and the A4400 and A435 in Birmingham.
“All of these roads now have average commuter speeds of less than 13mph,” said Mrs Seymour, one of three UKIP MEPs in the West Midlands.
“Business leaders estimate that traffic delays now cost hauliers in the region at least £300 million per year, and unless a solution is found, this figure is only going to continue to rise.
“We need more imagination and determination to solve this issue. We have reached a stage where commuters dread hitting the West Midlands at peak times, because they know the roads are among the slowest in the country.”