Decade sees growth in car traffic

Figures show that since the Labour Party was returned to power in 1997, car traffic has increased by 11%.

Department for Transport (DfT) statistics revealed that car traffic makes up 79% of all traffic but its rate of growth between 2006 and 2007 was just 0.4%.

The biggest increase has been for "white van man" light van traffic, which grew 4.6% between 2006 and 2007 and has risen by a huge 40% since 1997.

Total traffic on British roads rose 1.1% between 2006 and 2007 and has increased by 14% since 1997.

The figures also showed that in 2007, motorways and A roads accounted for 1% and 12% respectively of the road length in Britain. In contrast, 20% of all traffic was on motorways and 44% on A roads.

In the 10 years from 1997, the percentage of vehicles exceeding the 30mph speed limit in free-flow conditions has dropped for every vehicle type.

And in 1997, 70% of cars travelled at speeds in excess of the limit, though by 2007 this figure dropped to less than half.

Chris Hannant, head of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "These statistics are yet further evidence that congestion on our crumbling road network is unacceptable. According to our research, the annual cost of congestion to UK business now stands at a staggering £17.55 billion."

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