UKIP Transport spokesman Jill Seymour has called on the Government to switch off thousands of traffic lights across the UK after a report revealed unnecessary road signals are costing the economy a staggering £16 billion.
A study by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) claims eight out of 10 traffic lights across the country should be ripped out to reduce traffic jams.
“We’ve all seen what happens at many junctions when traffic lights are out of action – the flow is often dramatically improved, and journey times reduced,” said Mrs Seymour.
“I have been arguing for years that we should be allowing drivers to use common sense at junctions, or considering roundabouts, instead of automatically assuming we need lights.
“The number of traffic lights on British roads increased by 25 per cent between 2000 and 2014. Not only has this cost a fortune, but the subsequent delays are costing the nation billions of pounds.
“There are many areas where lights are entirely justified – but we’ve gone far beyond that. Let’s rip some of them out, and see what happens. I bet we’ll see journey times reduced, without a rise in accident rates.”
The IEA report, called ‘Seeing Red: Traffic Controls And The Economy’, found that the average two-minute delay to every car journey was costing the UK economy £16 billion in lost productivity.
And it said the ever-growing amount of unnecessary traffic regulation was putting ‘an enormous burden on the UK economy’.
Mrs Seymour said: “We’d be better off out of the EU, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn lessons from European nations like Germany and the Netherlands, where traffic flow has been improved by the switching off of lights.
“Even here in the UK, a trial switch-off at the busy Cabstand Junction near Bristol eased traffic jams and let to the lights being removed. It’s time for the Government to sit up and take notice of these statistics, and take the issue seriously. Let’s audit our traffic signals, and not be afraid to switch them off if there is no proven benefit.”
Mrs Seymour added: “I fully support the views of the report’s author and head of transport at the IEA Dr Richard Wellings, who accuses policy makers of failing to carry out a proper cost-benefit analysis of traffic lights.
“The result is that the Government is costing taxpayers a fortune by carrying out unnecessary work . . . and making life a misery for drivers in the process.”