“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.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

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...




‘JLR’s very British approach: keep calm and carry on’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler praises Jaguar Land Rover on both its ability to handle a crisis
26 Mar 2020

'Car exhibitions are going through the most dramatic period of change in a generation'

With the changing car market, the government's petrol & diesel ban plus the unprecedented Coronavirus, the car exhibition industry is going through a …
22 Mar 2020

'We’ll always be here to bring you the best in car news'

In this extraordinary period of unprecedented action, fear not as Auto Express will always be here to deliver you the very best in car news
19 Mar 2020

Most Popular

Bentley Continental GT

Bentley’s built a horse-themed Continental GT Convertible

The bespoke Continental GT Convertible Equestrian Edition features tweed door panels, a walnut dash and gold “horse and rider” emblems
9 Mar 2020
Speed limit to be cut to 60mph on M1
Tips & advice

Can I drive my car during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown?

The UK has been put on lockdown to help combat the spread of COVID-19, but does this mean you can’t drive your car anymore?
24 Mar 2020
BMW 4 Series

New 2020 BMW 4 Series spotted undergoing development

A near production-ready version of the latest BMW 4 Series Coupe has been spied, wearing a pair of huge kidney grilles.
19 Mar 2020