Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by the National Trust (IT 144)

INTEGRATED TRANSPORT

1. THE NEED FOR TARGETS AND MECHANISMS

  The Trust believes that the White Paper provides a good framework for integrated transport but it lacks sufficient mechanisms—or an overall target—to 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 through.

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 IN TRAFFIC

  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' ATTITUDES

  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 education—a 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 emissions—could help initiate a shift in public attitude.

5. THE ENHANCED ROLE OF REGIONS

  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.

6. HYPOTHECATION AND FUNDING FOR LOCAL TRANSPORT SCHEMES

  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 STANDARDS

  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 SPECIFIC NEEDS OF RURAL AREAS

  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 taxes—businesses which operate predominantly in rural areas should be exempt from car space taxing.

9. NATIONAL AIRPORTS STRATEGY

  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 REBATE

  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 "CAR-CENTRIC" LIVING

  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 in 2000.


 
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