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2004-07-20 DfT-001
Department for Transport

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Meeting the transport challenge


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Department for Transport

Meeting the transport challenge
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date
20 Jul 2004 00:00
source Department for Transport
type Press release



A long-term strategy for a modern, efficient and sustainable transport system backed up by sustained high levels of investment over the next 15 years was unveiled today by Transport Secretary, Alistair Darling.

Britain's transport networks will benefit from average annual increases of 4.5% over the next three years, from 10.4bn this year to over 12.8bn by 2007, as well as additional spending of 2.25% above inflation each year through to 2015.

The Future of Transport White Paper looks at the factors that will shape travel and transport over the next thirty years and sets out how the Government will respond to the increasing demand for travel, maximising the benefits of transport while minimising the negative impact on people and the environment.

Central to the strategy is the need to bring transport costs under control, the importance of shared decision making at local, regional and national levels to ensure better transport delivery, and improvements in the management of the network to make the most of existing capacity.

Alistair Darling also made announcements today on the future of Crossrail, light rail schemes and published the Road Pricing Feasibility Study.

Mr Darling said:

"Looking ahead, the challenges we face are clear. As the economy continues to grow, and with increased prosperity, we will want to travel more and the demand for goods from all over the world will grow.

"Our job is to help people travel, not to stop them. The challenge for us is how we meet people's need and wish to do so whilst meeting our environmental aims."

In response to the Road Pricing Feasibility Study, Mr Darling confirmed that government would lead a national debate on road pricing, working with relevant agencies to examine how and when pricing might work. A detailed response to the Study will be published in due course.

He said:

"The Road Pricing Feasibility Study concludes that a national scheme has the potential to cut congestion by about a half as well as providing environmental benefits. It says that road pricing is becoming technically feasible in the next 10-15 years. But for a scheme to work it would need general public acceptance and a great deal of preparation work over a number of years.

"There is still a lot of work to be done before we could be sure if this could work. But one thing is clear, doing nothing would be the worst possible option. Of course we need to invest in public transport - and we are - but that won't be enough on its own.

"There needs to be debate about what would make pricing acceptable to motorists. We must build a public consensus around the objectives for road pricing and how to use the revenues".

Mr Darling also announced that powers to construct Crossrail would be introduced in Parliament at the earliest opportunity. In publishing Adrian Montague's findings, he said:

"The case for a Crossrail link across London is clear and will get stronger as London continues to grow. But the plans need to be robust and value for money. The report makes clear Crossrail is needed, but that at a cost of 10 bn it represents a huge challenge both to deliver and fund.

"We intend to introduce a hybrid bill at the earliest opportunity to take the powers necessary for Crossrail to be built. At the same time, as the Montague report recognises, a major funding challenge remains. Government will need to work with the Mayor and the London business community to find a funding solution where everyone pays their fair share. This will include consulting on appropriate alternative funding mechanisms."

Mr Darling also made clear the costs of proposed light rail schemes needed to be better controlled. He said:

"Light rail can be very effective in persuading people to use public transport. Since 2000 new lines have opened in Croydon, Tyne and Wear, Manchester and Nottingham.

"Manchester's metro has been extremely successful. But plans for the extension have been dogged by successive cost increases. The central Government capital contribution rose from 282 million cash in 2000 to 520m cash in 2002, on top of which required annual central government payments have also risen from 5m a year in 2000 to 17m a year today - worth roughly another 150m.

"There's a similar pattern with the Leeds and South Hampshire tram proposals. In Leeds the Present Value of the public sector contribution was capped at 355m, but is now estimated at 500 million. And in South Hampshire, the original 170m Present Value is now 100m more.

"And in each case there's no certainty that costs won't rise further. The NAO was right to raise concerns; looking back over the last 20 years it has cost more to provide light rail here than elsewhere in Europe.

"No Government could accept these schemes as they are on the basis of these cost escalations. We cannot therefore approve them. We need instead to look urgently at how light rail could be made affordable, including the best approach for procurement. We will work with local authorities on the development of schemes, building on the recent NAO recommendations."

Notes to Editors

1. The Future of Transport is available from the DfT's website at www.dft.gov.uk/strategy/futureoftransport and via The Stationery Office online at www.tso.co.uk/bookshop, telephone orders: 0870 600 5522, fax orders: 08700 600 5533, email: book.orders@tso.co.uk

2. The Future of Transport has three core elements:
Sustained investment over the long-term

* An additional 1.7 billion transport reform package, over and above previous plans for 2005-06 and 2006-07.
* DfT spending increased by 0.5 billion a year in 2006-07 and 2007-08.
* Spending rising by an average of 4.5% in real terms between 2005-06 and 2007-08
* This annual increase consolidated in later years, with a further annual uplift of 2.25% above inflation
* Emphasis on cost control and value for money

Improvements in transport management

* Reorganising the rail industry to improve performance, drive down costs and get better value from public spending.
* Better traffic management will ease congestion on our road network. * Where capacity is being added, ensure that the benefits are locked in - for example tolling on new roads or the introduction of High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes where they make sense.
* Looking at how to help Local Authorities can combine better bus services with local charging schemes.

Planning ahead

* On our road networks, doing nothing is not an option and cannot build our way out.
* Government will lead the debate on road pricing.
* Committed to sharing decision-making with regional and local stakeholders,
* Will ensure that regional and local planning is based on a shared view of priorities, deliverability and affordability.

3. Feasibility of Road Pricing in the UK: a report to the Secretary of State can be downloaded at www.dft.gov.uk/roads/roadpricing. The report was commissioned by the Secretary of State on 9 July 2003. The Steering Group was composed of a broad range of motoring and environmental interests. The study found that a national road pricing scheme would probably become technologically feasible in ten years' time. Trust and confidence in the viability and delivery of any national road pricing scheme would be central to public acceptability, as would the availability of viable alternatives such as public transport or car sharing, and the use made of the revenues.

4. On 9th September 2003 Adrian Montague was tasked with setting up an expert team to evaluate the Crossrail project for value and affordability. His findings are contained in The Review of the Crossrail Business Case and can be found at
www.dft.gov.uk/railways/crossrail

5. The Department also published today Smarter Choices - changing the way we travel. The project was commissioned last year to investigate the impact that soft factor interventions can have on travel demand. The report can be found at www.dft.gov.uk.

6. The Ten Year Plan for Transport was announced in July 2000.

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk



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