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MPs make congestion call

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MPs have warned the Department for Transport against leaving the issue of tackling congestion to local authorities.

In a report on how to curb congestion without building more road or introducing road pricing, the transport select committee said highways authorities had a duty to manage local road networks but that the DfT should “actively support” them to work together closely to fulfill that duty.

The committee called for a tougher driving test, greater use of real-time information systems and better co-ordination between road management authorities offer affordable methods by which to curb road congestion.

Launching the report, committee chair Louise Ellman (Lab) said: Congestion costs the economy billions of pounds each year. Improving the way we manage road space so that the network runs more smoothly is vital to the prosperity of the nation. Pursuing this challenge should form a key plank of central government transport policy.

“The Department for Transport cannot simply devolve all responsibility for managing the road network to individual Highway Authorities. These organisations have a key role and duty for managing their local networks, but the DfT should actively support them in working together closely to fulfill that duty.”

The committee had previously warned that congestion would cost the UK economy £22bn a year by 2025 and called for road pricing to be introduced. However, that has been ruled out by the government while the buiding of new roads is unlikely in the current economic climate.

 

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