Channel road cash to broadband when coronavirus lockdown is over

By Asitha Jayawardena

In the UK, this is the second 3-week of lockdown we are in. Outside UK, most countries are under different phases of lockdown.

What will happen when the lockdown is over in the UK?

Chris Stark

Money for the development of roads should be spent on the investment of broadband, said Chris Stark, CEO of Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

“The government mustn’t be investing in anything likely to increase carbon emissions. I expect that video conferencing will become the new normal, and we won’t return to travelling the way we did,” Stark said. “I would spend the roads budget on fibre. You would get a huge return to the economy with people having better connections.”

The government plans to spend £28bn to develop roads and further £100bn to HS2 (High Speed Rail 2).

“You would save people’s time and increase their productivity,” he said.

Edmund King

If it’s possible, people will prefer on working from home after the lockdown is over, said Edmund King, AA President (formerly The Automobile Association).

“Arguably in future, we should invest more in broadband because what this current crisis has shown is that the majority of companies can continue working from home, and it can be more efficient,” King said.

“People travelling up and down motorways just to hold meetings is inefficient, expensive and not good for the environment,” he clarified. “I think use of roads and rail and indeed bus will be reduced after this crisis.”

Prof Greg Marsden

It’s more likely to lose the passion to travel after covid-19, said Prof Greg Marsden from Transport Studies Unit, Leeds University.

“The likely drop in traffic levels post the Covid-19 crisis means that we should delay the road expansion programme and focus instead on rebuilding public transport and switching more of our vehicles to zero emissions,” he said.

Andrew Adonis

However, Labour peer and author Andrew Adonis thinks that it is too early to predict that home-working is better that office-working when the lockdown is over.

“Lots of people are working out how to use Skype and Zoom, so this could improve productivity – but on the other hand, other people can’t wait to get back to the office,” Adonis said. ““I’m sceptical whether travel demand will drop sufficiently to counteract population growth in the UK.”

Many people believe that it’s too early to predict that.

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Research from accountants Theta Financial Reporting suggests that some level of working from home after the lockdown will be the norm.

When the lockdown is over, let us see what would happen in roads and rails and in home.

More…

Climate change: Switch road cash to broadband, adviser says https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-52371140

Coronavirus will transform UK work and travel, says AA https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-52137968