Archived press release
First Anniversary of M6 Toll Opening

Today (Thurs 9th) is the first anniversary of the opening of the M6 Toll, Britain's first private toll motorway. West Midlands Friends of the Earth has warned that the operators want to attract more traffic to the road by creating a development corridor. The M6 Toll anniversary comes only two days after the Welsh Assembly Government announced plans for a toll motorway to relieve the M4 in Gwent.

The M6 Toll was built to provide an alternative to the existing M6 through the West Midlands conurbation. At the public inquiry in 1994/95, the concessionaires, Midland Expressway Ltd, said that the new road would attract 75,000 vehicles a day from the M6. However average traffic levels on the M6 Toll have settled down to below 50,000 vehicles per day. The peak traffic level was on July 23rd when over 71,000 vehicles used the M6 Toll, as this coincided with major roadworks on the M6 [1].

Faced with these lower than expected traffic numbers, Midland Expressway have embarked on a development offensive in recent weeks, trying to attract new traffic-generating developments to greenbelt and greenfield sites in the M6 Toll Corridor in an attempt to generate more traffic on the road.

West Midlands Friends of the Earth spokesman Chris Crean said:

"The M6 Toll isn't working. It hasn't attracted the traffic levels predicted and the road's owners are supporting and promoting greenbelt and greenfield developments in an attempt to generate more traffic. This is a simplistic car-based, traffic-generating development strategywhich will undermine the regeneration of urban areas in the West Midlands. This should be a cautionary tale for the Welsh Assembly Government which should think carefully before deciding whether to go ahead with their plans for a toll motorway".

Note

[1] see www.m6toll.co.uk

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Published by Friends of the Earth Trust