Fleet News

Government defends transport plan

THE Government has defended its transport policy following its savaging by MPs who described the 10-year £180 billion transport plan as 'incoherent', 'incomprehensible' and failing to tackle congestion.

Members of the Transport Select Committee, dominated by Labour politicians, including its chairman, Gwyneth Dunwoody, issued the damning assessment of progress in June.

Last week, the Department for Transport published responses to each of the 48 recommendations from the Select Committee. One of the most vocal attacks by the committee was reserved for the Government's use of 'casual enthusiasts', such as Lord Birt, former chairman of the BBC, to come up with new ideas on transport policy.

The DfT insisted a wide range of opinions was important to ensure all avenues were explored.

The Select Committee also accused the Government of failing to meet the targets it has set, and claimed that in areas such as vehicle emissions the impact of the 10-year transport plan will be minimal compared to the progress made by car manufacturers, fleets and other road users in cleaning exhaust fumes.

The DfT plan contributes reductions in toxic exhaust emissions of only one fiftieth to one hundredth the size of those that will be delivered by new vehicle technology, the select committee said.

It added that the Government had downplayed the importance of congestion charging in reducing traffic levels. But the DfT replied: 'The Government believes it is for local authorities to determine the right solutions for local problems.

'Thirty-five authorities outside London have indicated an interest.'

  • Copies of the full response, called The Government's Response to the Transport, Local Government and the Regions Select Committee Report: 10 Year Plan for Transport, are available from www.dft.gov.uk
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