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MINISTER DENIES ROADS APATHY

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The government has denied it is indifferent to congestion charging schemes and claims it will back any councils whi...
The government has denied it is indifferent to congestion charging schemes and claims it will back any councils which propose them, junior transport minister David Jamieson has promised.

He was speaking in the first Commons debate on urban charging schemes since the London congestion charge began in February.

Mr Jamieson said he took issue with the suggestion in the Commons transport committee's report on congestion charging that the government was lukewarm on the matter.

'Congestion charging is available because the government listened to local authorities and gave them the powers to go ahead with it.

'We did not produce a blueprint in Westminster or Whitehall and say, 'This is what you have to do.' We allowed local authorities to take democratic decisions in their own areas.'

Mr Jamieson was pressed by Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Tom Brake on whether he would be happy for more councils to introduce congestion charging.

Mr Jamieson said: 'Absolutely. If a local authority has developed a scheme, has consulted properly locally, can show that it will reduce congestion and can demonstrate all the features that are needed under the legislation, of course the government will be very supportive.'

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