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The government has abandoned its plan to build a £3.5bn motorway between Oxford and Cambridge via Milton Keynes after analysis showed it was not worth the money.

The Department for Transport said it would now investigate the need for more targeted road interventions instead of the Oxford-Cambridge expressway, which had been on the table since 2014.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The Oxford-Cambridge arc is home to cutting-edge research, globally renowned science and technology clusters and some of the most productive places in the country – we want to make sure it has transport fit for such an important region.

“Our analysis shows the expressway cannot deliver such links in a way that provides value for money for the taxpayer, so I have taken the decision to cancel the project.”

Martin Tett, leader of Buckinghamshire Council, said: “The expressway would have torn a large hole across some of the most beautiful countryside in the county with little benefit to local residents.

“What we need is investment in local roads, used by local people to ease congestion, not another mega project that will just bring environmental destruction.”