Rural roads hit by traffic increase

* Countryside traffic up by 27% overall * Up by nearly 50% in some counties * Controversial road plans submitted...

Rural roads hit by traffic increase

Rural roads in the UK are becoming increasingly congested, according to new research.

The study, compiled by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), revealed that traffic levels in some counties has increased by almost 50% over the previous 15 years.

Traffic has increased by 27% overall, but some counties have experienced much larger rises. Traffic levels in Hertfordshire were up by 42%, Rutland had a rise of 43%, and Oxfordshire had experienced an increase of 46%.

Local authorities have addressed the problem by submitting proposal for new roads, including controversial schemes such as the Westbury Bypass, which would cut through Salisbury Plain.

CPRE spokesman Ralph Smyth claimed that planners were attempting to solve the problem by "bulldozing" the countryside, when they should be concentrating on improving public transport.

Mr Smyth said: 'It is clear that regional decision makers are reluctant to face up to the incompatibility of rising traffic levels and lower carbon emissions. We need urgent investment in rail, bus, walking and cycle routes to give people in all areas real choices for low-carbon travel'.

The Department for Transport refuted this and said the impact on the countryside was always considered in the planning of new roads.