Transport Minister John Hayes has outlined a new aesthetic vision for the road network.
Speaking at a lecture organised by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Campaign for Better Transport, Mr Hayes said: “Today I want to make the case for a new vision for roads and the architectural features on and around them.
“A change in the way we perceive the network, and the way it interacts with the landscape and environment. I want to raise awareness of the unparalleled opportunity we have now.”
With the government announcing a £15 billion roads programme last year, Mr Hayes wants to see a whole new approach to road design.
He added: “Roads are part of our landscape. We cannot un-invent the car or order people to stay in the village of their birth. So we need to integrate roads into their surroundings. Flowing with the landscape. Or concealing structure where possible.
“They should be environmental assets. And carry cleaner, greener vehicles. I believe roads can lift the soul. It’s a massive task. But I want to see the same kind of transformation of how we perceive road travel as we have seen with parts of the railway.”
Through the ‘Roads investment strategy’, Mr Hayes wants to instill new design principles right at the start of infrastructure development – so aesthetics and environmental issues are considered alongside engineering and local planning.
What do you make of the Transport Minister’s comments? You can read his speech in full here and comment below.