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GOVT SEEKS GUIDANCE ON TRAFFIC REDUCTION

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Transport minister Glenda Jackson has launched a consultation on the draft guidance to local authorities in England...
Transport minister Glenda Jackson has launched a consultation on the draft guidance to local authorities in England on strategies for reducing road traffic levels on local roads.

The Road Traffic Reduction Act 1997 requires local authorities to undertake reviews of current and forecast traffic levels on local roads in their area, and publish a report containing targets for reducing these traffic levels or their rate of growth, or providing reasons why such targets are inappropriate. This guidance is being produced in draft first to allow local authorities and other interested parties to comment. The final version is likely to be published later this year.

Commenting on a parliamentary question Ms Jackson said:

'The Road Traffic Reduction Act will turn environmental awareness into action. Local authorities will now have to consider influencing future traffic conditions on their roads by setting targets for reducing traffic levels, or their rate of growth, and how to achieve these through integrated and sustainable transport strategies.

'People already realise that if we are to improve the air quality and general environment of our towns and villages, we need to reassess how and how often we use the private car.

'But we recognise that as local circumstances will differ greatly from one part of the country to another and between urban and rural areas, it is essential that local authorities consider very carefully the most appropriate strategy for their area - reflecting both the local traffic conditions and the possible effects of the targets on the local environment and economy.'

The guidance also offers advice on the range of transport measures that are available to help local authorities achieve their targets, including:

- encouraging greater use of public transport

- cycling

- walking

- or introducing traffic management measures - such as pedestrian zones or traffic calming

Glenda Jackson continued:

'It is critical that local authorities consult as widely as possible with local residents and businesses on their proposals. It is only

with this vital local support that these targets will be met.'

NOTES

1. The Road Traffic Reduction Act was the result of a Private

Member's Bill piloted through parliament by Don Foster, shortly before last year's general election. The Act applies to local authorities which are traffic authorities in England, Scotland and Wales. The guidance being issued today applies to England only and places responsibilities on county councils, unitary authorities, metropolitan districts and London boroughs. Guidance for local authorities in Wales and Scotland is likely to be issued shortly.

2. The Act requires local traffic authorities to undertake reviews of current and forecast traffic levels on local roads in their area and to produce a report. This report, which must be published and a copy sent to ministers, should contain targets for reducing traffic levels, or their rate of growth, on such roads in the authority's area, unless they consider them to be inappropriate for all or part of the area, in which case a full explanation will be required. Authorities will be expected to produce their reports by July 1999.

3. The government will consider in due course the need to develop the guidance in the light of its review of transport policy and the

publication of the Integrated Transport White Paper. Local authorities will need to take full account of the White Paper when producing reports and setting targets for their area.

4. Members of the public can obtain copies of the draft guidance

from the department of environment transport and the regions on

0171-271 5124. The closing date for comments on the draft guidance is 20 April 1998.

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