Germaine Greer says Britain's 'primitive' roads are a disgrace

We need roads like those in Italy and France, says author, but Highways Agency isn't up to the task

LAST UPDATED AT 16:14 ON Tue 2 Apr 2013

GERMAINE GREER has lambasted the "primitive" state of Britain's roads as well as the government agency responsible for their management and maintenance.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the Australian-born feminist says most country roads in the UK are "potholed, weed-infested messes with no genius evident in their planning or management". She contrasts Britain's dire highways with Italy's "breathtaking" road network and the "elegant" viaducts that link France's stretches of smooth tarmac.

Greer says the UK's motorways are inadequately serviced in terms of petrol stations and other facilities and a social media campaign is needed to get the Highways Agency – the body that manages and maintains the roads – to lift its game.

"They [British roads] should be the absolute best that we can manage, in engineering, in design and in construction," writes Greer. "They offer a huge opportunity that in Britain is in great part wasted."

Greer's column coincides with the news that Britain's second toll motorway is to be given the green light in what The Times calls an "attempt to stimulate the faltering economy with capital spending". The paper says a "decade-old plan to ease congestion on the M4 in South Wales" has been dusted off by the government as part of a multibillion-pound road-building scheme.

The new motorway can't be built soon enough for Greer, who considers roads to be "the most significant buildings of the 21st century". Unfortunately for Britons, the UK's roads are in the hands of a "mysterious" body called the Highways Agency. Greer says the organisation's five year strategic plan, released in 2010, is a "preposterous assemblage of pseudo-inspirational guff".

What the agency really needs to address, writes Greer, is the shortage of services on the UK's motorways. Motorists who urinate in the hard shoulder face a £30 fine, but surely it is more dangerous to drive with a "bursting bladder", she says. "As it is you might as well be catheterised before you set out to drive any considerable distance on a British motorway."

The scarcity of petrol stations on British motorways is also an issue, writes Greer. Drivers are forced to venture off the main roads to buy fuel, but a lack of signs indicating the whereabouts of the nearest petrol stations leaves drivers confused and "on their own".

"That British drivers are reduced to carrying spare cans of petrol in their cars is enough to disqualify the Highways Agency from ever claiming to be the 'world's leading road operator'," she writes. · 

Disqus - noscript

With a high level of unemployment that will remain high for years (cheap imports and many people poorly educated) there must be a good case for more spending on roads; at least maintaining existing ones.

The cost would be would be offset by reduced benefits claims, less damage to vehicles, less emergency repairs and less social damage that accrues as people fall into an unemployed underclass.

The roads are like everything else publicly managed in this country. Inefficient embarrassments.

I should say publicly funded, privately managed.

I think Germaine is spot on in what she is saying. Mind you - she isn't telling us anything we didn't know already. But I m glad she is highlighting it - as we need 'famous names' to highlight the issue.

"Briton says 'Primitive Germaine Greer is a disgrace!"

THERES NO DENYING WHAT GERMAINE GREER SAYS THE QUESTION WHAT REQUIRES ASKING OF OUR POLITICIANS IS WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING FROM ROAD TAX0 / FUEL DUTY I UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN ROAD TAX WAS BROUGHT IN IT WAS INTENDING TO PAY FOR THE UPKEEP OF THE ROADS SAME WITH FUEL DUTY PLUS ALL THE REVENUE BEING BROUGHT IN BY SPEED CAMERAS AND COURT FINES FOR MOTORING OFFENCES IT IS GOING IN TO THE TREASURY FOR THE GOVERMENT TO SQUANDER
ON OVERSEAS AID KEEPING THE LIKES OF QATADA IN THIS COUNTRY AND NUMEROUS OTHER THINGS LIKE THE BANKS AND THE HIGH CIVEL SERVICE WAGES EASY COME EASY GO THE WORKING CLASS HAVE TO FOOT THE BILL FOR ALL THE TREASURYS MISTAKES ALSO THE LOCAL COUNCIL AND COUNTY COUNCILS TAKE MONEY OFF US I THOUGHT THEY WHERE SUPPOSED TO CHIP INTO THE UPKEEP LETS HAVE LESS TALK ABOUT ROAD TOLLS AND CAR TAX CHARGES BEING PUT AND FUEL DUTY THAT ONLY EFFECTS THE LOW PAID L THE LIKES OF BARRISTERS POLITICIANS DOCTORS DENTISTS TEACHERS 5 OR 10% ITS NOTHING TO TO THEM ON THEIR SALARY STRUCTURES BUT SOME ONE SAY ON £12 OR 13 THOUSAND GBP IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE TO THEIR LIFE STYLS AND THEN THE POLITICIANS TELL US ABOUT HAVING A FAIRER SOCIETY

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