Fleet News

Give Prescott backing for traffic reduction plans, FoE tells Blair

PRIME Minister Tony Blair is under fire from Friends of the Earth for not backing Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott with either the money or Parliamentary time required to put his road traffic reduction plans into practice. A survey of all 149 highway authorities in England by Friends of the Earth claims that local councils back the traffic reduction policies contained in the year-old Integrated Transport Policy white paper.

However, when the authorities were questioned about some of Prescott's measures, workplace parking and road pricing were the two most unpopular initiatives with barely a quarter of authorities backing road pricing.

Of the 93 authorities which responded to the survey, Friends of the Earth says:

  • 100% think it desirable to encourage employers to develop green travel plans.
  • 98% think it desirable to set up safe routes to school programmes.
  • 97% think it desirable to boost cycling by building bike route networks.
  • 94% think it desirable to build a bus priority network.
  • 89% think it desirable to encourage walking by introducing area-wide traffic calming.
  • 86% think it desirable to tighten parking controls.
  • 70% think it desirable to re-open a local railway line.
  • 67% think it desirable to charge for workplace parking.
  • 26% think it desirable to introduce road pricing.

Friends of the Earth transport campaigner Tony Bosworth said: 'Local councils believe traffic reduction policies are needed. But one year on we are no further forward. Tony Blair must back his deputy with the money and the Parliamentary time he heeds to get Britain out of the jams. And he should show that New Labour is serious about integrated transport by setting a clear target for road traffic reduction.'

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