Lord Whitty last week launched a new environment strategy to give greater
protection to land, trees, wildlife and rivers alongside motorways in
from the annual £1.4billion budget of the Highways Agency will
be used to implement the new environmental techniques and ideas. Lord
Whitty said: "We have given the Highways Agency - as network operator
of England's motorways and trunk roads - the task of devising strategies
in key areas such as safety, integration and alternative forms of transport.
The first of this family of plans is the Strategic Plan for the Environment.
This commits the Agency to make even greater efforts to protect the
environment along the road network. I look forward seeing the results
in action and monitoring its performance at regular intervals"
strategy entitled `Towards a Balance with Nature' is the first of series
of strategic plans which Ministers have given the Highways Agency to
direct activity in support of the government's integrated transport
strategy and sustainable development. The other plans cover safety,
maintenance, operation of the motorway network, improvement of the network,
integration with other transport modes, support for the economy, and
accessibility for cycling, horse riding and pedestrians.
Chief Executive Peter Nutt said: "Caring for the environment is an
integral part of all the work we do. In addition we have an £8m
programme this year aimed at reducing the adverse impact of motorways
and trunk roads on the environment which will fund much of the work.
The strategy covers a wide range of issues including air pollution;
waste management; noise reduction; water pollution; biodiversity and
protecting our geological and historical heritage. In developing this
strategy we have consulted with our national Environmental Committee
which includes English Nature, National Trust, RSPB and Friends of the
Earth in order to focus on green issues affecting our road network.
We will work in partnership with these and other organisations to make
the strategy work effectively"
The new environment
strategy was welcomed by independent organisations representing 'green'
issues. The Agency has set up a national environmental committee supported
by regional bodies to focus on green issues affecting motorways and
Under the new environmental
strategy the Agency will:
- Work with road contractors to ensure policy is delivered;
- develop new contracts which balance the cost to taxpayers with environmental
- use materials which help sustain the environment;
- develop a biodiversity action plan to manage land next to motorways
to provide better protection for wildlife, trees and watercourses;
- introduce engineering measures to protect wildlife from road traffic
where motorways cross habitats;
- use noise-reducing surfaces when roads need to be resurfaced;
- identify sites for noise mitigation on existing roads;
- research tyre and road noise with the tyre industry;
- on waste management, conserve existing resources, co-operate with
the construction industry on recycling materials and encourage the use
of local materials;
- develop a research programme for water management in relation to roads
and improve procedures for dealing with road spillages;
- increase use of environmentally-friendly lighting on motorways;
- work with specialist organisations to protect heritage sites from
damage by roads and traffic.