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COUNCILS TO GET MORE POWERS OVER TRANSPORT

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A demand to give councils more power over transport has been met in a draft bill out today, the government claimed....
A demand to give councils more power over transport has been met in a draft bill out today, the government claimed.

The Department for Transport said its draft Local Transport Bill meets the Local Government Association's call for councils to have greater freedom over transport in their areas.

DfT full details Local Transport Bill gives councils more powers

The bill takes forward recommendations from the government's Putting Passengers First paper.

The LGA confirmed that its demands had been met.

Transport and regeneration board chair David Sparks said:

'The bill offers a golden opportunity to tackle some long standing problems and deliver better local transport. We have been calling on government to give councils greater control and a stronger leadership role to improve transport services. The proposals on buses and on managing local transport show ministers have taken this on board.

'The plans in the bill to give councils greater control over bus services are a step in the right direction. The LGA has argued that local authorities must be allowed to work better with bus companies and given more say over frequency, timetables and fares. The devil will be in the detail, but the proposals should provide local people with a better bus service.

'Local government has pressed for the bill to give more freedom to councils to make their own arrangements to work together to deliver better local transport infrastructure and services. Different areas will require different solutions, so it makes sense that arrangements for local transport delivery are decided locally.'

On road pricing Mr Sparks said:

'The government isn't ready to introduce a national programme of road pricing because it hasn't managed to secure public support. It is now leaving local authorities on the frontline of the road pricing debate. It is essential road charging does not become an extra tax. People will need convincing that the benefits of any local road pricing schemes will outweigh the costs and offer a genuine alternative to the car. This will only happen if councils are given powers and control over funding to invest in roads, buses and trains and other forms of transport.'

Earlier, the Shared Parking and Registered Keeper Service called for councils to have greater powers to enforce civil traffic penalties against foreign registered vehicles.

It says unless the law is changed drivers from abroad will continue to avoid paying fines because data is not shared between vehicle licensing authorities across Europe, and councils do not have powers to register the traffic enforcement debt and crack down on persistent evaders.

Steering group chairman Nick Lester said: 'If the government is serious about encouraging road pricing schemes then it needs to get a grip on penalty evasion by overseas vehicles.'

Regeneration & transport

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