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RTPI CONF: GOVERNMENT URGED TO COMBINE TRANSPORT AND PLANNING NEEDS

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Stephen Joseph, executive director of Transport 2000 today challenged the government to combine tranport and planni...
Stephen Joseph, executive director of Transport 2000 today challenged the government to combine tranport and planning needs in its Transport White paper later this month.

Speaking at the Royal Town Planning Institute's national planning conference in Bournemouth, Mr Joseph said that previous good intentions had been undermined by inadequate legislation.

'PPG13 was good, but it was only half the story,' he told planners. 'It offered some clear directions to the planning system on reducing the need to travel, locating to new development where it could be easily accessed by public transport or on foot and bike.

'Backed up by some clear decisions on appeals, it has succeeded in slowing down and in some sectors halting the dash to out of town car-based facilities.

'But what was always missing was a clear transport strategy to back up and support the planning policies.'

Among the factors running counter to PPG13 were a large trunk road building programme; traffic management giving priority to vehicles over people; a deregulated and privatised public transport network 'starved of investment over many years'; tax relief for company cars; and a fall in motoring costs in real terms.

Mr Joseph welcomed predictions that the Transport White Paper would include:

- Local transport plans to fit with development plans

- Some reregulation of buses

- A strategic rail authority

- Review of company car tax system (abolition of free fuel has already been announced

- Change in traffic priorities to favour pedestrians, cyclists and buses

- Taxation powers for non-residential parking

But questions remained including whether private and public funding priorities follow policy?

'Will government - central and local - get its own house in order by taking account of the extra travel (and wider social costs) generated by centralisation and closures of hospitals, schools, magistrates courts etc?' he asked.

'Will senior planning officers give up their own parking spaces and cut their own car travel as part of green commuting, or will they just tell everyone else to do so?

'Will central government support councils adopting restraint policies against resistance from the AA and chambers of commerce, or will it leave them to twist in the wind?

'What will be done to eliminate or at least reduce competition between authorities to attract car-based development and to stop competition undermining restraint policies?'

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