Letters - The travel bug

Christian Wolmar ("Stop: wrong PM on the line", 10 February) unfairly castigates the government's transport policies. Improving travel infrastructure invariably encourages more travel. The jet engine (developed largely at taxpayers' expense) and duty-free aviation fuel bolstered cheap international journeys. Motorways, designed originally for moving freight, are now predominantly used by commuters who travel ever further. Running faster trains increases congestion, since time saved can be used to make more journeys elsewhere.

Successive governments have insanely promoted growth in the most highly populated parts of the country, so increasing the pressure on the travel infrastructure and further increasing the disparity in house prices between dense urban and remote rural areas. Competition policies have forced firms to source from wherever is cheapest, encouraged by a road system which is free at the point of use - something that even the NHS cannot claim.

Anthony G Phillips
Salisbury, Wiltshire

This article first appeared in the 24 February 2003 issue of the New Statesman, Can Blair survive?