Government’s new transport proposals divide opinions

The government’s announcement hailed as a “plan for motorists” has been met with mixed reviews.

The “long-term plan to back drivers” details measures which include:

  • Reviewing guidance on 20mph speed limits in England;
  • Preventing councils implementing ’15-minute cities’; and
  • A call for evidence on options to restrict the ability of local authorities to generate revenue surpluses from traffic offences and enforcement.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

“We’ve seen this consistently with people’s freedoms on transport. The clamp down on drivers is an attack on the day to day lives of most people across the UK who rely on cars to get to work or see their families.

“This week the UK government will set out a long-term plan to back drivers, slamming the brakes on anti-car measures across England. We are taking the necessary decision to back the motorists who keep our country moving.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: 

“Our plan will sit alongside our continued investment in public transport and active travel as part of a package of measures designed to help people travel in the best way that works for them.”

Mr Harper was referencing a government announcement last month which claimed that “millions of people in England have enjoyed cheaper bus travel this year thanks to the government’s unprecedented actions to lower bus fares and protect services.”  Quoting new statistics from the Department of Transport (DfT), the announcement said that the average bus fare had dropped “10.8% in rural and non-metropolitan parts of England.”  This has been welcomed by the Federation of Small Businesses, whose report The Growth Belt: Supporting rural small businesses makes the case for ‘improving rural transport links and strengthening the resilience and sustainability of rural communities.’

However, bus passenger champion, Bus Users UK, has expressed disappointment over the latest plans which ultimately would “limit the powers of councils to curb car use in England.”

The charity fears the changes will lead to rise in traffic, congestion and pollution and will make it more difficult for bus operators to run efficient and reliable services.

Claire Walters, Chief Executive of Bus Users UK said:

“It’s astonishing that Government should be considering such a regressive move given the growing and urgent need for more sustainable transport.

“The current focus on electric cars not only fails to tackle congestion and pollution, it also fuels transport inequality given the high cost of vehicles. These possible new measures will make it even harder for local communities to move towards fairer, greener and more accessible transport.”


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