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ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES
27 MARCH 1998
MEETING OF THE LGA TRANSPORT COMMITTEE - 5 FEBRUARY 1998
Report by Councillor Bill Greer, New Forest District Council
To note the report
1. There was unanimous support for an Integrated Transport Policy but the debate went on to cover local initiatives Air Quality, School Transport, Accessibility to Railways, Air and Sea ports. Street Lighting in rural areas to provide for greater safety.
2. There was discussion on the best way to provide better bus services in both urban and rural areas. Mention was made of the huge sums paid in subsidising local bus services and whether the millions spent was producing "Best Value". Looking at franchising services, there was need to look at gross and nett cost. Should bus companies be helped financially on a "Precept" basis like the Emergency Services? More use of Park and Ride to ease congestion in towns and cities which led to discussion on Land Use Planning, Road Safety and Welfare to Work.
3. Rural needs must feature high in any list. The private car may be frowned upon but the flexibility and reliability it offered to residents in rural areas could not be matched. Imposing heavier taxes on fuel, increasing road licence and insurance, plus punitive charges for parking would cause great harm to the economic and social life in the countryside.
4. Rapid Light Transport. The message from John Prescott was that while it may have a part to play he felt the bus offered greater flexibility, quicker and better return on capital employed; indeed better value for money. Manchester's Metrolink was said to be too expensive even though it offered the public a good service and was "clean". Everything had to be weighed and balanced.
5. Regional Airports should form an integral part of an Integrated Transport Policy. With the coming of quieter engined aeroplanes the role of regional airports should be enhanced with more domestic and international services offered. London's role should be downgraded so that passengers did not need to use London's airports as "Hubs". Altogether this should lead to better use of roads and fuel as well as improving the environment. The "price factor" presently in place to attract passenger traffic to London's airports to fill more seats on international flights needed to be examined in true cost terms.
6. The Channel Tunnel Rail Link. the recent announcement that LCR was unable to finance the provision of this link had caused speculation that it might be abandoned. The Conservative Group had examined the matter in advance of the meeting of the full committee and decided to seek the support of the Transport Committee in stressing to the government the vital role such a link would play in the national economy. It is the missing "bit" in bringing to the whole country the ability to use the Channel Tunnel and if we really mean to get more freight off the roads the building of the CTRL must proceed with all speed. It was essential, too, that the international Passenger Station at Ebbsfleet was progressed at the earliest opportunity. The building of the link would open up Essex and Kent to more inward investment and jobs.
7. The Transport Committee gave its unanimous support to the CTRL being built as quickly as possible, being in line with its policy of "Access" to make for national integration of Railways, Air and Sea ports by the provision of good roads.
COUNCILLOR BILL GREER
New Forest District Council
|Author:||Nick Goulder, Policy Manager|
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