Memorandum by East Sussex Transport 2000
East Sussex Transport 2000 is a voluntary organisation
campaigning for sustainable transport policies at national, regional
and local level.
We understand that the Environment, Transport
and Regional Affairs Committee is about to examine the Government's
transport white paper, A New Deal for Transport: Better for
Everyone. This is a contribution to this examination.
Like many others, we think the following:
present traffic levels are unsustainable,
for many reasons, from the impact of traffic emissions on the
earth's climate to the impact of traffic on children's physical
health and social development;
in order to reduce all the many adverse
impacts of road traffic, it is essential to reduce road traffic;
the Government should decide what
lower levels of traffic should be achieved, that is set national
targets (in accordance with the Road Traffic Reduction (National
Targets) Act 1998).
We note the view of the Government's advisers,
the Standing Conference on Trunk Road Assessment (SACTRA), that
"there is scope to achieve some reduction in national traffic
volumes through restraint measures which will at the same time
improve economic efficiency" (Transport Investment, Transport
Intensity and Economic Growth: Interim Report, December 1997).
We are therefore very concerned that, according
to the transport white paper (paragraph 2.25), the Government's
aim is to reduce road traffic growth rather than to reduce road
traffic from its present level.
To aim to reduce road traffic growth is of course
to aim to increase traffic. According to Government forecasts,
based on policy as it was before the white paper, traffic will
increase by between 36 per cent and 57 per cent in the next 20
years; the white paper does not say what increased level of traffic
the Government is aiming at.
Road traffic reduction was supported by the
Labour Party before the general election and has been supported
by transport ministers since. A clear majority of Members of Parliament
is in favour of it. There was overwhelming support for it among
the 7,300 respondents to the Government's integrated transport
consultation paper. In view of all this, it is extremely disappointing
that the Government has finally decided to aim to achieve or at
least permit continued traffic growth.
We urge the Environment, Transport and Regional
Affairs Committee to call on the Government to abandon its aim
to increase traffic and instead fulfil its previous promises to
13 September 1998