Fringe Box



Letter: What Is Really Behind the Junction 10 Project?

Published on: 5 Nov, 2023
Updated on: 5 Nov, 2023

Junction 10 A3/M25 – beam being lowered into place

From: David Roberts

In response to: British Engineering at Its Best

Without belittling the engineering involved, it is legitimate to ask what is really behind this project, which looks like costing the best part of half a billion pounds at a time when there are far greater calls on the public purse. Think what else the government could do with a sum like that!

The project has been justified on the basis that this is the most dangerous junction on the M25, while National Highways’ own assessment ranks it only number three or four, depending on the measure used.

The full cost estimate seems to date from 2014, since when Brexit, Covid and inflation have practically doubled labour and material prices. The felling of tens of thousands of mature trees occurred without a peep from any local council or MP, as if this were not perhaps the biggest local ecological disaster on record.

The impact of shifting Junction 10 traffic more quickly onto existing local roads will be great, but lies conveniently outside National Highways’ responsibilities. And the decision to approve the project was repeatedly postponed over several years by successive transport secretaries, surely indicating a strong degree of doubt about how necessary or urgent it is.

So, why? The project predates the Prime Minister’s feeble attempt to whip up a ULEZ-related culture war between motorists and the environment, but not his party’s unhealthy dependence on donations from the construction industry whose every wish, it seems, must be met.

Kow-towing to the pro-traffic lobby is spectacularly short-sighted politics and Sir Paul Beresford, who rarely says anything in public at all, ought to be ashamed of cheerleading for it.

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Responses to Letter: What Is Really Behind the Junction 10 Project?

  1. James Wild Reply

    November 5, 2023 at 5:32 pm

    Can I suggest that Dragon readers watch the National Highways M25/A3 presentation video on the whole scheme before passing judgement on these works.

    It has certainly made me accept that the gain is going to be worth the pain come summer 2025 and it has made the whole engineering operation more understandable and interesting.

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    November 5, 2023 at 10:10 pm

    As I have said before on The Dragon NEWS:”Billions are being spent on the HS2, so that some 20 minutes would be saved from the train journey time but what would be the true gain? Is the Junction 10 work a vanity project by the government to create employment?

    “If the same money were spent on improving the road network instead, reduced congestion on the entire national road network would have benefited the vast majority.”

    A small proportion of money saved could have been used, for example, for the A3 widening through Guildford. My comments are in the letter

  3. Guy Sutlieff Reply

    November 6, 2023 at 6:25 pm

    I’m not exactly a fan of this government, to say the least, but that is a bizarre letter in all respects.

    Saying that the junction is being improved because of construction company donations is ridiculous. First, because, frankly, nothing ever gets built under the Tories, and secondly it is as logical as saying Labour build railways as the RMT sponsor them.

    The junction is being improved because it causes congestion for miles around and encourages traffic to turn off at Leatherhead or Chertsey to avoid it, thus actually funneling traffic into local roads.

    Also, “tens of thousands of trees” felled …really?

    • Jules Cranwell Reply

      November 7, 2023 at 12:18 pm

      I suspect Guy has not seen the devastation. Looks more like 100,000 trees destroyed, massive tracts destroyed each side of the A3 and M25.

      • James Wild Reply

        November 7, 2023 at 10:51 pm

        If you watch the highways presentation video as suggested you would see that the rare heathland habitat is being restored by the removal of these trees.

        The common used to be open heathland which provided excellent habitat for certain rare species and is why these rare heathlands have a special designation SPA’s (Special Protection Areas).

        In other words removal of trees is not always a bad thing.

    • David Roberts Reply

      November 7, 2023 at 7:04 pm

      Credible recent reports put construction industry donations to the Conservative Party since 2010 at £29 million. That makes them very hard to say no to.

      I don’t think it’s “bizarre” to suggest that winning contracts from government agencies like National Highways may be down to state capture.

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