“Congestion could cost the UK £307bn, so how about a ruralisation programme?”

Mike Rutherford looks at the UK's growing congestion problems, and he thinks he has the solution

Opinion traffic

The congestion problem is big, and getting bigger. In 1960, 41 million folk lived in Britain’s urban areas. Today, 54 million or more are considered urbanites. Most are adults with cars, using city road networks – that won’t be growing at the same rate.

This over-crowding nightmare we’ve generated for ourselves will worsen. The rural/urban exodus is continuing. No wonder estimates say congestion could cost the UK £307bn over the next decade or so.

The UK Government can at least encourage firms and individuals to vacate the traffic-choked conurbations that have reached breaking point. How about a Revolutionary Ruralisation Programme, starting with a transfer of its admin staff to Ruraldom? Big charities, banks and research centres should do the same.

• London is Europe's worst city for traffic congestion

Also, the Government will, post-Brexit, be free to subsidise relocation to rural regions where roads are often under-utilised, commercial and residential properties are considerably cheaper, and space isn’t an issue. Can’t afford to drive and buy a house in London, where parking can cost £5 an hour, there are waiting lists of up to 50 years for council homes, and a single private house can cost up to £55m? Consider Norfolk! Or a self-contained Scottish island for just £1.95m.

To be fair, the motor industry is keener than most on the much-needed urban to rural switch. Toyota USA is moving from gridlocked Greater LA to the quieter and more productive Texas region. Subaru of America is questioning whether it needs to be on the doorstep of over-populated Metro New York. And Hyundai wants its factories out of Seoul, which houses the majority of South Koreans – and their cars.

• “Britain is unproductive? I don't believe it for a second”

Honda UK’s regional base is now in comparatively traffic-free Bracknell, Berkshire. BMW GB is in Farnborough, Hampshire, and Aston Martin sensibly opted for the comparatively deserted Wales to build its newest factory. But does Ford need its Dagenham engine plant workers contributing to London’s traffic mayhem? The same could be asked of Nissan/Infiniti designers in Paddington, and Caterham employees who build cars on the Greater London border.

Perhaps some of us should be forced to move. I’d put office-based civil servants at the head of the queue. They can swap their views of the Thames for equally interesting views of the green and pleasant countryside.  

Do you agree with Mike? Let us know in the comments section below...

Recommended

'The Land Rover Defender and Aston Martin DBX must be front runners for World Car Design of the Year'
Opinion

'The Land Rover Defender and Aston Martin DBX must be front runners for World Car Design of the Year'

Mike Rutherford thinks cars from Gerry McGovern and Marek Reichman are favourites to win design award
30 Aug 2020
'VW Group management shake-up could be crucial to the car choice facing UK buyers'
Opinion

'VW Group management shake-up could be crucial to the car choice facing UK buyers'

Deputy editor John McIlroy points to outgoing Skoda boss as a key reason for the firm's success
15 Jul 2020
"Despite the tragedy of 2020 so far, several intriguing developments emerged in the final week of June"
Opinion

"Despite the tragedy of 2020 so far, several intriguing developments emerged in the final week of June"

Mike Rutherford recounts some significant stories that may have passed you by in recent weeks
12 Jul 2020
'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'
Kia

'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'

With Kia winning the World Car of the Year 2020 award with the American-built Telluride, Mike Rutherford believes Kia has beaten Jeep at their own gam…
18 Apr 2020

Most Popular

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric cars charging at home
Electric cars

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric cars charging at home

New powers being sought to allow energy providers to turn off high-drain devices to manage electricity network
18 Sep 2020
Audi A3 vs Mercedes A-Class
Car group tests

Audi A3 vs Mercedes A-Class

The Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class are strong competitors in the premium hatchback market - we find out which is best
19 Sep 2020
New Rolls-Royce Ghost 2020 review
Rolls-Royce Ghost

New Rolls-Royce Ghost 2020 review

The all-new luxury Rolls-Royce Ghost saloon brings new levels of refinement
18 Sep 2020