1. ITV Report

Rush hour now lasts '12 hours a day' on the M25

  • Shock report says region's economy at risk from chaos on M25 with rush hour now 12 hours a day
  • Extra lanes and congestion charging rejected
  • Upgraded roads in Berkshire, Surrey and Hampshire and better rail services called for to solve the problem
Credit: PA

A shock new report says congestion on the M25 is now so bad the economy and prosperity of the region and even the country is at risk. Urgent action it says it vital.

The study for the Government and Highways England says the rush hour now lasts for "twelve hours a day from 6am to 6pm" and says there has been a "failure to keep pace with ever increasing demand."

It adds "if nothing is done journeys will become even more unreliable."

Credit: PA

The report was ordered to look at ways of solving the chaos on the M25 between the A3 in Surrey and the M40 in Buckinghamshire which has the worst jams and is used by 220,000 vehicles a day. It also looked at key routes in Berkshire, Hampshire and Sussex.

The report rejects plans for extra lanes, flyovers and tunnels and congestion charging. It says they would be too disruptive for local people and may not work anyway. It also expresses concern at pollution levels that could be caused.

It calls for better public transport to get people off the roads with longer trains and new links to Heathrow from Surrey and Reading. A massive upgrade of the line between Reading, Guildford and Gatwick is also supported.

Credit: PA

It says new technology should be used ease traffic flow on the M25 along with measures to speed up clearing incidents which cause congestion. Technology for driverless cars is also backed.

To increase capacity the report wants major upgrades to roads that run parallel to the M25. For example the A404 linking the M40 and M4 at Maidenhead and the A329 and A322 linking the M4 at Reading and Bracknell with the M3 at Bagshot.

If drivers used these roads it would be instead of using the M25.

This will be highly controversial but the report says it would help solve the problem and benefit local areas.

The M25, M3, M4 and M23 are all having hard shoulders removed to ease congestion, work on the M25 will start in two years, but the study says it will help but not solve the long-term problem with an increase in traffic of 60% expected by 2040.

It reveals extra capacity will be needed for an expected 375,000 new homes and more traffic going to Heathrow if a third runway is built.