Memorandum from the Local Government Association
Conservative Group (IT 56)
INTEGRATED TRANSPORT WHITE PAPER
The LGA Conservative Group is committed to transport
strengthen the national and local
provide freedom of choice;
enhance the quality of life;
protect and enhance the environment.
A national transport strategy should have two
main objectives. First, to support UK business, their competitiveness
and the national economy. Second, to improve the quality of life
Many of the broad aims and sentiments of the
White Paper are well expressed and widely shared. The White Paper
calls for mobility for all in a way that is safe, efficient, clean
and fair. The emphasis on bus transport is welcome, as are the
sections on cycling, walking and school transport.
The Government must show that it has real confidence
in Local Councils to do the job and ensure that local authorities
receive the necessary funding to carry out these policies and
for the proper investment in the national transport infrastructure.
The Government must also understand and acknowledge that the country
has a diverse range of transport needs. There are differences
between urban and rural areas and also geographical considerations
which vary across different regions and localities.
The section following states our main concerns
applying to some of the proposals set out in the White Paper.
Further clarification will be needed on almost every aspect of
policy. However, we acknowledge that the Government will be publishing
a large number of subsidiary guidance papers and discussion documents
to flesh out these proposals.
1. UK business needs an effective motorway and
road system in order to remain competitive and to attract international
inward investment. The Government's recent trunk road review shifted
policy away from transport's first priority of supporting the
economy and business. The CBI stated that the White Paper brought
only £350 million a year out of a necessary £2.5 billion
needed for investment every year for the next 10 years.
2. The national economy needs a properly maintained
infrastructure. It was not encouraging to see the July spending
review announce a freeze for local authority road maintenance
for the next three years.
3. Significant increases in capital allocations
to authorities do not occur until 2001-02.
4. The White Paper also fails to give due weight
to the need to shift freight from road to rail. This modal shift
would bring long-term gains to the economy and business, to the
environment and to reducing road use and congestion.
5. Many of the controversial elements of the
White Paper have been devolved to local authorities with the decisions
on these potentially being taken at District Council level (i.e.,
road pricing and workplace parking) whilst the costs are incurred
by County Councils.
6. Workplace parking charges will result in
a further tax on the motorist and business.
7. Congestion charging and road pricing will
mean that the benefits in independence and quality of life that
the car has brought to many people will be removed from those
who cannot afford it. People must be encouraged onto public transportnot
priced out of their cars. Public transport charges in the U.K.
are already high in comparison to Europe and other nations.
In rural areas the car is, for many, essential
for work, for school and for any social activity. The private
car must continue to be recognised as an essential part of any
integrated transport strategy.
8. The emphasis on Heathrow as a public transport
hub does not support the regional balance between the west of
London, the east of London and the rest of the United Kingdom.
A strategy which encouraged growth at regional airports and revitalised
east coast Ports would result in growth in economic development
and boost employment in areas which need economic regeneration.
9. Much of the delivery of the White Paperof
making local and public transport effective and relevant to people's
lives, of co-ordinating land use and transport planning and of
revitalising townsmust be picked up by local authorities.
This is welcomed. There is, however, real concern over the plethora
of new organisations and arrangements in the White Paper, and
consequent costs, to deliver thisincluding a commission
for integrated transport and five year local transport plans set
within planning guidance from regional planning conferences.
The Conservative Group of the LGA looks forward
to contributing further to the consultation process as the more
detailed subsidiary guidance papers are published by the Government.