A report published today (Tuesday) by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has revealed that the poor state of Britain’s transport infrastructure has cost business a staggering £23.2 billion, an increase of £5.7 billion since last year. 

 

Our failing transport system is costing an estimated £17,350 on average per UK business. 90 per cent of businesses have experienced increased operating costs while 80 per cent claimed a loss of man hours. 

Other key findings from “The Congestion Question: A Business Transport Survey 2008” include: 

 

80 per cent of businesses say road congestion locally, regionally and nationally is a problem

 

Nationally the sheer volume of traffic is the biggest issue with poor road design, planning delays and the lack of alternative transportation adding to the problem

 

78 per cent would support the principle of road pricing; but only if improvements to public transport and investment in infrastructure were made beforehand

 

95 per cent of businesses believe that the planning of the UK’s major transport infrastructure schemes takes too many years; 90 per cent agreed that transport schemes are too bureaucratic in their design and implementation

The UK’s transport infrastructure is still built around its Victorian foundations. This report points to the failings of the network and points to the urgent need for a complete revision of current transport policy. The BCC recommends: 

Bringing forward public transport projects especially as the economic downturn begins to bite

A new north-south high speed rail line is needed as a matter of urgency to relieve pressure on existing lines

The decision on the third runway at Heathrow, as the UK’s only major hub airport providing a gateway to the rest of the world, cannot be delayed

Better planning through the rapid implementation of an Infrastructure Planning Commission

David Frost, Director-General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “This survey highlights the need for a long term strategy that is prepared to take drastic action to improve and upgrade our dilapidated transport networks. 

“High profile projects such as the third runway at Heathrow and a new high speed railway must happen. Passengers and road users are becoming more infuriated as their journey’s become longer and more costly. “If the UK is to maintain its position in the world it must invest in its infrastructure. A first rate country cannot operate with a third rate network.”