DfT report says widening the M25 on its south-west quadrant would not be the right solution
The M25 South West Quadrant Strategic Study (M25SWQ), has been published by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Highways England. It claims to “identify and appraise options for improving performance of the transport network across all modes in and around the M25 South West Quadrant”. It has concluded that the M25 should not be widened (beyond what is already committed) in the SW quadrant, because that would have “significant (negative) effects on surrounding communities” and would not be effective in reducing congestion”. The study was looking at the section of the M25 between, and including, junction 10 for the A3 at Wisley and junction 16 for the M40 in Buckinghamshire. This is the busiest section of the M25, close to Heathrow. The report says future work on the M25 should not focus on widening it, but reduce the pressures and recommends further work to “Explore options for new or enhanced highway capacity, separate but parallel to the M25.” “This should work first to find alternatives to travel, or to move traffic to more sustainable modes. … But the volume of travel means that road enhancements are also likely to be needed.” There could be upgrades for existing roads, and options for roads to fill in the gaps.
Plans not to widen south-west section of M25 welcomed by campaigners
16 March 2017 (Campaign for Better Transport)
Campaign for Better Transport responds today, Thursday 16 March, to the Department of Transport’s M25 south-west quadrant strategic study.
This study is part of the first phase of the Government’s Road Investment Strategy which was published in December 2014.
Bridget Fox, Sustainable Transport Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport, said:
“We welcome the recognition that we cannot simply build our way out of congestion. The M25 study is right to focus on improving capacity on the existing network through moving to more sustainable modes. That makes sense for the environment and the taxpayer too.
“Those measures should be implemented in full before any new roads are planned. New roads create more traffic, and it is wrong to sacrifice precious countryside for more tarmac when positive alternatives are available.”
For further information please contact Richard Watkins, Press Officer, at Campaign for Better Transport on 020 7566 6494 / 07984 773468 firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
– Read the Department for Transport’s M25 south-west quadrant strategic study: stage 3 report here
– Read about Campaign for Better Transport’s road campaigning work here – Evidence shows that new roads create new traffic
– Campaign for Better Transport is the UK’s leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people’s lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).
Widening M25 ‘not the answer’ to congestion problems – government report
The M25 South West Quadrant Strategic Study, published on Thursday (March 16), recommends expanding parallel roads instead of the M25 itself
BYJOSHUA SMITH (Get Surrey)
17 MAR 2017
Widening the M25 would have “significant effects on surrounding communities” and would not be effective in reducing congestion, a new government report has revealed.
The weighty M25 South West Quadrant Strategic Study (M25SWQ), published by the Department for Transport (DfT) on Thursday, claims to “identify and appraise options for improving performance of the transport network across all modes in and around the M25 South West Quadrant”.
The study looked at the section of the M25 between, and including, junction 10 for the A3 at Wisley and junction 16 for the M40 in Buckinghamshire.
The report states future work on the M25 should not focus on widening the road, but rather look to “reduce pressures and provide parallel capacity to relieve the motorway network”.
“The evidence gathered to date suggests directly adding capacity to the M25 (beyond what is already committed) is technically challenging and would have significant effects on surrounding communities,” says the report.
“It also shows that where alternative capacity exists away from the M25, conditions are better. This suggests planners should think about the M25SWQ as a corridor and not an asset which ends at the motorway’s boundary fence.”
The report continues: “This study recommends the focus of future work should not be on widening the existing road. Instead, attention should be given to how to reduce pressures and provide parallel capacity to relieve the motorway network.
“This should work first to find alternatives to travel, or to move traffic to more sustainable modes.
“But the volume of travel means that road enhancements are also likely to be needed.”
What are the timescales?
The report recommends two pieces of further work to improve journeys on this part of the M25:
– Examining the current situation and other methods of transport, such as public transport, to assess what is necessary
– Explore options for new or enhanced highway capacity, separate but parallel to the M25
Reads the report: “The first is to join up local partners and transport providers to understand in detail the viable options on the local road network and railways.
“This means understanding the feasibility and scale of impact options on the local road network and public transport would have on the M25SWQ.
“These should reduce the need to travel, improve public transport and enhance local roads to reduce pressure on the M25.”
It adds: “In parallel, the Department for Transport and Highways England should explore the potential for new and enhanced highway capacity.
“This is likely to begin with developing upgrades for existing roads in the study area but could also investigate options for roads away from existing alignments to fill in the gaps between existing roads.
“Any proposals for additional highways should find the most efficient and least disruptive options, whilst making best use of environmental mitigation and design.”
M25 South West Quadrant Strategic Study Stage 3 Report
by DfT and Highways England
Below are a few sections from the report that mention Heathrow:
1.1.1 The requirement for the M25 South West Quadrant (M25SWQ) strategic study was set out in the first Road Investment Strategy (RIS), published in 2014, which announced a programme of new Strategic Studies to explore options to address some of the Strategic Road Network’s (SRN) largest and most complex challenges.
1.1.2 The strategic aim of the study is to identify and appraise options for improving the performance of the transport network across all modes in and around the M25SWQ1 , boosting economic growth and prosperity, and improving journeys.
1.1.3 This document describes the study findings and explores the case for investing in a range of interventions which impact on transport and travel in and around the M25SWQ. It identifies the elements which are likely to present the strongest business cases for investment, and proposes a strategic framework through which they could be delivered.
Heathrow, the UK’s biggest air freight and passenger airport, directly employs 69,700 on site, 7,000 off-site, and a further 40,000 full time equivalent jobs through its supply chain making it the largest single employment location in the study area.
Alongside this, each LEP in the study area has set targets for ambitious employment growth in key national sectors of the economy. The anticipated levels of new employment and housing, new homes, combined with aviation expansion centred on Heathrow, will increase the demand for travel across the study area. This will, in combination, place substantial additional strain on transport networks and services.
3.6.7 Government policy is set out in the 2013 Aviation Policy Framework, which identifies the key objective of ensuring the UK’s air links continue to make it one of the best connected countries in the world. Government has accepted the need for additional airport capacity in the south east, having endorsed the Airports Commission’s recommendation for a new Northwest runway at Heathrow Airport. A new northwest runway at Heathrow is the Government’s preferred option for airport expansion.
Expansion will be associated with both additional demand for travel to airports and pressure on existing transport infrastructure in the study area.
3.6.8 The Government has recently laid before Parliament a draft Airports National Policy
Statement and commenced a public consultation process and an accompanying
Parliamentary scrutiny process. The Airports National Policy Statement, if designated, would provide the planning policy framework for making decisions on any future development consent application of a new Northwest runway at Heathrow.
3.6.9 It is evident that upgraded and new transport infrastructure will be required to
support additional airport capacity. The challenge will be to ensure airport-related
travel demand does not unduly impact on the efficient operation of the transport networks.
There are also a number of major public transport investments underway or with some degree of commitment in the study area. Of particular significance are:
– Crossrail 1 (to be known as the Elizabeth Line), which will provide additional east-west capacity through central London, and free up capacity on the Great Western Mainline (GWML);
– Electrification of the GWML and Midland Mainline, to enable faster trains with more capacity;
– High Speed 2 (HS2), the new rail line from London to the West Midlands and North of England, with an interchange at Old Oak Common;
– TfL’s first stage of the Four Lines Modernisation, with new, higher capacity, walkthrough
trains introduced on the Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and District lines;
– Night Tube, introducing night-time services on Fridays and Saturdays on selected lines including the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow T1-3 and T5;
– Thameslink Programme, a combination of signalling, track and station works to increase train frequency through central London, along with new and longer, higher-capacity rolling stock; and
– Wessex Improvement Programme, comprising infrastructure improvements and train lengthening to deliver a 30% increase in capacity on the lines into Waterloo; and
– Western Rail Link to Heathrow, to connect the Great Western Main Line to
3.6.14 A common thread running through the majority of the major investment programmes
is emphasis on radial improvements, rather than orbital connections, and on tackling existing capacity issues which will persist into the future. There are, however, notable schemes which will improve orbital journeys, including the Western Rail Link to Heathrow and Metropolitan Line Extension and the proposed Southern Rail Access to Heathrow.
There are options which could address key areas with poor public transport accessibility to airports, including southern access to Heathrow and North Downs Line to Gatwick, allowing travellers further alternatives to driving to either airport;
….. and the full report is at