Delivering a Sustainable Transport System: Planning for 2014 and Beyond
Response of the Association of British Drivers
This is our reponse to the Department for Transport's consulation on 'Delivering a Sustainable Transport System', launched in November 2008, closing in February 2009.
Question 1: Are there any additional challenges that we should add to the matrix? Or any challenges we should delete?
All the challenges under the goal of tackling climate change should be removed from the matrix, as should the goal itself. Global temperatures have now been reducing for several years while carbon dioxide levels are continuing to rise. None of the climate models on which the global warming scare rely predicted the current cooling, showing they are unfit for purpose. Solar physicists, on the other hand, correctly forecasted the cooling a decade or more ago. The cooling is expected to continue until at least 2030 and is entirely natural in origin, as was the previous period of warming. Continuing to base transport and other policies on the discredited claims of man-made climate change will distort priorities and cause great economic damage.
Question 2: Are there ways in which we could make any of the challenges clearer and easier to understand or measure?
The majority of the challenges are described as clearly as possible within the constraints of the matrix approach, although controversial issues may arise when the Government begins to formulate ways of meeting the challenges. There is one item, however, that is unclear: in the top row of the matrix, under the goal of contributing to better safety, security and health, item 4 states "Reduce the risk of death, security or injury due to transport accidents." As written, this seems to call for reducing security, which cannot be correct. Either 'security' should be removed or the meaning otherwise clarified.
Question 3: Which of the challenges do you consider as most important?
The most important challenges are those that focus on reducing lost productive time, by improving the reliability and predictability of journey times across all networks; also, those concerned with reducing the risk of death or injury due to transport accidents.
Reasons: Lack of investment in the transport system, particularly the road network, is a major cause of congestion and unreliability of journey times. It also contributes to road accidents, especially on overloaded single-carriageway routes. Reducing road casualties is clearly an important goal, although the ABD believes that recent Government policies in this field have actually slowed the rate of casualty reduction. A radical rethink of those policies is required.
Question 4: Do you agree central government should lead on the development of solutions for the national and international networks and that regional and local government should lead for the city and regional networks?
Central government should be responsible for developing solutions for the national and international networks, but unelected and unaccountable regional assemblies should not control regional networks. Instead, regional roads of strategic importance should remain the responsibility of central government through the Highways Agency. Other regional roads should be the responsibility of county councils. City governments should have the main responsibility for city networks, but the solutions they adopt must be compatible with national policy, so that people visiting different cities are not faced with widely differing policies (e.g. London's low emission zone).
Question 5: Are there any strategic corridors that should be added to the national network? Or any corridors that should be removed from it?
The network of strategic corridors is about right. However, there are significant areas of the country not served by a national corridor, e.g. Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Cornwall. This strengthens the case for strategic routes that serve those areas to remain under central government control through the Highways Agency, as stated in answer to question 4.
Question 6: Do you have any suggestions on how best to ensure that solutions for the national and international networks and for the city and regional networks are developed in a joined-up way?
It will be necessary for central government to issue guidance on the range of solutions from which those bodies responsible for city and regional networks will be allowed to choose. If they wish to put forward solutions outside that range they would have to apply to the appropriate Secretary of State for approval.
Question 7: Do you have any other comments on the approach, set out in this section, to taking forward the proposals contained in Towards a Sustainable Transport System?
Proposals for implementing the third and fourth stages of the four-step process proposed in TaSTS do not refer to any further public consultation beyond the present one. As mentioned in the ABD's response to question 2, it is likely that controversial issues may arise when the Government begins to formulate ways of meeting the challenges. It is important, therefore, that the proposed solutions are subject to consultation in due course, and the ABD would like to be added to the list of consultees.