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

Memorandum by the Saffron Walden and District Friends of the Earth (IT 68)



  We welcome the White Paper and its objectives and are in full agreement with most of the proposals. We do however consider that there needs to be a greater sense of urgency in the implementation of the proposed measures. Traffic is increasing at an alarming rate and apart from the inconvenience and pollution that is already being caused, there is a Government commitment to meet the targeted reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide by the year 2010. This will not be achieved unless the existing vehicle traffic is reduced, as opposed to a reduction in traffic growth as referred to in the White Paper.

  We therefore emphasise the need to carry out in the very near future:

  1. The establishment of a Commission for Integrated Transport, and a Strategic Rail Authority, needed if improvements in the rail service are to be achieved.

  2. The setting of a target for Traffic Reduction. Targets stimulate policies. A 10 per cent reduction by the year 2010 is feasible and necessary.

  3. The proposed powers to enable Local Authorities to introduce changes in their areas, including fiscal changes, should be introduced before the Authorities have completed drawing up Traffic Reduction Plans, as are already required by the recent Traffic Reduction Act. Such powers will clearly influence local policies. Plans should initially be drawn up at the lowest effective level (i.e., usually District level) and subsequently integrated at County and Regional level.

  Local Authorities will need expert advice, possibly from the RDA, but the advice should be given by a suitably qualified Traffic Consultant, and there is a case for requiring RDAs to appoint such a Consultant.

  4. Fiscal measures should be extended to enable LAs to impose parking charges on retail and leisure centre parking as well as other non-residential parking.

  5. Considerably increased licence fees should be levied on large cars with high fossil fuel usage with low fees for small cars and cars and lorries using "green" fuels. This seems to be a fairer way of discouraging excess fuel use than a steep rise in the tax on such fuel.

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