'Public fury' saved central London from motorways

An article examining how "public fury" stopped plans to radically reshape London in the wake of the Second World War, including proposals to "flatten most of Covent Garden", features in today's newspaper round-up.

Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins looks at plans in the 1960s and 1970s to build "five ring motorways and radials" around London, alongside radical proposals to reshape areas such as Covent Garden. The piece says: "What saved Covent Garden from its fate was that the potential victims had enough fire in their bellies to fight back. The battles were often painful, the rows between activists, often from very different backgrounds, leading to many a pub bust-up."

The Financial Times (subscription) reports that chancellor Sajid Javid is to use his 6 November Budget to "focus on boosting the UK’s infrastructure, emphasising the government’s initial preference for higher public spending over tax cuts". The paper adds that Javid will "set out plans to boost Britain’s infrastructure, adding long-term capital projects to the £13.4bn of extra spending announced in a generous spending review in September."

The Times (subscription) reports that "fracking sites could become a permanent blot on the landscape because of a weakness in decommissioning rules, according to the public spending watchdog." The paper says that a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) has said the government "made false assurances that the Environment Agency would be able to pursue fracking companies and landowners for the costs of restoring sites". Its report, the paper adds, "also questions the government’s claims that fracking will yield economic benefits and be consistent with Britain’s climate targets".

The Financial Times says the NAO also found that "police forces in the north of England spent more than £13m in less than two and a half years providing security at shale gas sites when only one well was fracked".

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