Fleet News

U-turn as Government backs backbench call for targets

THE Government has performed a U-turn and is now backing a backbench Bill requiring it to set targets for reducing traffic levels. The Road Traffic Reduction (UK Targets) Bill was drawn up by a coalition of green pressure groups and was debated in the House of Commons on Friday.

Friends of the Earth reckons the bill has the support of 419 MPs - including transport ministers Gavin Strang and Glenda Jackson - and in the run-up to the debate wrote to all MPs urging them to back the Private Members Bill. It received its second reading on Friday but fell short of setting actual reduction targets. It is understood ministers want to wait for the forthcoming transport white paper in May before setting figures.

Traffic campaigners hailed the Government's decision as a 'major success' and claimed it put traffic reduction plans at the heart of transport planning, requiring all Government transport policies to be designed within a traffic reduction framework.'

But Christopher Macgowan, chief executive of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, said: 'The Bill is coming before Parliament at the wrong time. We have recently spent many hours preparing our response to the Government's Integrated Transport document and the white paper which will follow will be of such importance that any other Bill is inappropriate and a sideshow.'

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