Memorandum by the National Trust (IT 144)
1. THE NEED
The Trust believes that the White Paper provides
a good framework for integrated transport but it lacks sufficient
mechanismsor an overall targetto achieve a significant
shift of use from the private car and lorry. We hope that the
momentum for change can be sustained and that local and central
government ensures that all the different elements are carried
2. POLICY INTEGRATION
We welcome the Government's significant efforts
to provide better integration of transport between the modes,
with land use planning, at different levels of Government across
the policy sectors.
3. REVERSING RISES
It was a disappointment that the Government
has lowered its sights to curbing further rises in traffic, rather
than reversing them. We supported the principle of a national
target for road traffic reduction earlier this year when the Road
Traffic Reduction (UK National Targets) Bill came before Parliament.
As the White Paper acknowledges, a target is a valuable benchmark
against which to measure progress. The Trust's embrace of a target
to reduce the proportion of car-borne visitors by 30 per cent
is an acknowledgement of this: the target itself is somewhat arbitrary,
but it still provides a goal at which to aim.
4. CHANGING DRIVERS'
The White Paper has undoubtedly raised the level
of debate on transport, although in some ways it provides too
much reassurance that car drivers will not be coerced to do anything
they do not want to. What the White Paper needed to do was to
set out to change people's attitude towards the car, and to educate
them that small changes to travel habits (for example leaving
the car at home for short journeys) can make a big difference.
A national target embracing traffic/congestion/pollution reduction
could provide an initial powerful focus for educationa
bid to capture the public's imagination. Public education making
the link between burning fossil fuels, emission of greenhouse
gases and sea levels rising (demonstrating what areas of coastline
would disappear)not to mention health risks associated
with emissionscould help initiate a shift in public attitude.
5. THE ENHANCED
The Trust welcomes the greater emphasis on decision
making at local levels and indeed wherever resources allow we
would like to participate in this. However, we feel that local
government will need help with knowledge, skills and resources
to promote the new transport agenda. In particular we would welcome
reassurance that Regional Planning Conferences and/or Chambers
will have ample guidance and resources for their new responsibility
for conducting studies on the future of major trunk road schemes.
Trunk road planning aside, the Trust would like to see a greater
role for Regional Policy because transport networks often span
several authorities, and journeys are often commenced in one local
authority and completed in another.
In our response to the consultation leading
up to the White Paper we recognised the need for "sticks"
as well as "carrots". We therefore endorse the fiscal
proposals contained in the White Paper and the Government's decision
to allow local authorities to spend income derived from congestion
charging and taxes on business cars. We trust that the revenue
local authorities will gain from hypothecation of taxes will be
additional to, not a replacement for, the Revenue Support Grant
which central government pays annually for local transport schemes.
It would be helpful to the delivery of integrated transport if
the Government were to publish a timetable for the introduction
and implementation of legislation on the new revenue streams.
7. CAR PARKING
Firm regional guidance on car parking standards
would be welcomed, in order to reduce competition between local
authorities over the provision and prices of car parking. Out
of town retail centres should charge for their parking and the
revenues should be collected by local authorities for investment
in public transport.
8. RECOGNITION OF
The White Paper's efforts to provide a real
transport choice to all people and in particular people without
access to a car is to be congratulated. Similarly, we applaud
the efforts not to penalise unduly those who are unlikely to find
an alternative to the car for the majority of journeys through
the remoteness of their location. This is particularly important
for rural dwellers, and to an extent for visitors to the countryside.
We would request that the Government takes this into account when
looking at parking taxesbusinesses which operate predominantly
in rural areas should be exempt from car space taxing.
9. NATIONAL AIRPORTS
The Trust welcomes the commitment to produce
a national airports strategy; we believe moreover that the Government
should adopt a demand management approach to developing an aviation
strategy in a similar way in which it is addressing road capacity.
We hope that swift progress will be made towards implementing
a national airports strategy, otherwise targets for reduction
in greenhouse gas emissions will not be met, and other environmentally
harmful consequences of airport development such as habitat degradation,
land take, noise, and consequential development will continue
to threaten our landscapes.
10. FUEL DUTY
The Trust is particularly pleased to see one
of its key recommendations on the White Paper regarding the improvement
of rural public transport, namely to increase the rebate on Fuel
Duty for buses, and target in on rural services. This should ensure
that the cost of bus travel will rise by less than the cost of
motoring. This measure, combined with the new Rural Bus Grants
could also give new services a better chance to take root, helping
sustain them over the difficult first two seasons of operation.
11. ENCOURAGING LESS
Stronger signals should be given towards the
encouragement of car-free development, car-free or traffic-restricted
areas and car "clubs". The latter was advocated in the
Trust's submission to the 1997 House of Commons Inquiry into Housing
as one strategy to free up land for housing (this means that residents
have access to a communal pool of cars once they have agreed to
not to run a car and not to have a parking space provided).
12. LEISURE TRAVEL
There seem to be few measures aimed at persuading
the leisure traveller to use alternative modes of transport, save
the door-to-door information hotline. We recognise that this sector
of travel is by nature complex and unpredictable (unlike business
and commercial travel) and therefore difficult to tackle comprehensively.
We feel there should be more research into the travel motivations
and preferences of leisure travellers, particularly those visiting
the countryside. The National Trust will be publishing the results
of a targeted research programme into Visitor Travel Patterns