People and jobs are more important than newts when it comes to building new roads, outgoing CBI director-general Sir Digby Jones said last night.
A critical new dual carriageway planned when he took over the post seven years has still not been built, he said in a farewell speech at the CBI East Midlands' annual dinner a t the University of Nottingham.
"I will never forget that when I made my first visit to Nottingham as director-general seven years ago, I was told that the plan to turn the A435, which links the city with the M42, into a dual carriage-way was badly needed and was at the planning stage."
The road is still at the planning stage because of fears it would disturb the habitat of a rare species of newt, Sir Digby said.
"Jobs and the people who create wealth in this country are more important than newts," Sir Digby said.
"We have got to get our priorities right because the Government's muddle-headed attitude to roads means the people of Nottingham are not getting the quality road system they deserve."
Sir Digby went on repeat calls for nuclear power to be reinstated at the heart of the country's energy strategy.
"We have a big, big problem with energy and with the huge increases in the cost of oil and gas.
"In the medium term we have to look at how we are going to generate electricity without putting carbon into the atmosphere and make sure we are not dependent in future on the likes of Russia, the Middle East and France for our power.
"The answer is nuclear power and it is 'make your mind up' time for the Government, which has so far ducked the issue."
Sir Digby said resources should be channelled into nuclear power without damaging the drive to develop renewable energy sources.
He told the Nottingham audience that the development of East Midlands Airport as a major air freight centre had been a "huge success story" for the region.
He also praised Nottingham University for developing strong academic links with China.