Fleet News

Critics slate latest transport strategy

Transport minister Ruth Kelly has revealed her latest “you can have your cake and eat it” transport solution, which outlines her pro-green/pro-growth strategy.

But criticism of her latest plans was swift.

“This announcement seems to be a list of every transport idea ministers have read on a website, instead of being a coherent vision for Britain’s future transport system,” said the Liberal Democrat shadow transport secretary, Susan Kramer.

Meanwhile the Green Party’s principal speaker, Caroline Lucas, said the paper “is aiming for the wrong result, starts with the wrong base-line, and so comes to the wrong conclusions”.

However, Mrs Kelly defended the strategy document, saying it gives the first opportunity to deliver her pro-environmental approach that accommodates a pro-growth agenda for transport.

“Nice words, but the time for words has passed,” said Stephen Joseph, executive director of Campaign for Better Transport.

“We need action. These ideas must translate into real-world improvements, and right now it’s not clear how they will.”

The minister says her plans to force manufacturers to cut vehicle emissions while educating motorists to drive more efficiently as well as tempting them out of their cars will be the keys to achieving at least a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.

She said spending over the next six years will be focused on improving congested routes.

Beyond then, the document shows that more than £20 billion could be allocated to as yet unnamed transport projects.

The Government also aims to get businesses to share the cost in an attempt to make the £20 billion go further.

While it is strong on direction, the document contains little that has not already been announced.

Road pricing is still high on the agenda, as is a heavy investment in the national road network, with a strong emphasis on public transport.

The Government will publish a transport green paper and begin a formal consultation process on the document in spring 2008.

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