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Joined-up planning is key to success of transport network projects

08 May 2014 #Bus and Coach #CV Sector #Logistics #News #Policy #Top Stories #Truck

The Transport Committee has warned that joined-up planning is needed for both passenger and freight transport to ensure future prosperity for Britain.

In its latest two reports the committee has scrutinised the proposed planning network framework for nationally significant road and rail infrastructure projects and the strategic road network in England.

MP Louise Ellman, Chair of the Transport Committee, said, “If our recommendations are overlooked the UK won’t develop the kind of transport infrastructure that it needs over the longer term.”

In the first of its reports issued, the Transport Committee has called on the Department for Transport to become more proactive, and suggests it looks at enhancing existing infrastructure that is not deemed adequate.

It adds that there is a need to deliver transport schemes that stimulate better regional economic development, and improve links to areas of the country that are not served well by the current infrastructure.

There was also calls for the DfT to be more candid about the effects of major transport projects on local networks and to embed road safety improvements for all users through the use of promoters.

Jeremy Evans from IET Transport Policy Panel, supports the Transport Committee’s stance, adding, “Our growing population and infrastructure means that transport planning has become increasingly challenging in the last 20 years.

“Making sure we plan effectively and holistically for our entire passenger and freight traffic system, and not only for parts of it in isolation, is more than crucial than ever.

“Imagine, if we widened the M1 Southbound without at the same time improving the notoriously gridlocked Staples Corner on the north circular. We would end up with a giant car park.”

The Transport Committee also passed its thoughts about the strategic road network-funding plan, but was not convinced about the Highways Agency becoming a government-owned company.

Ellman adds, “The SRN is a crucial part of our national transport system but has suffered from inconsistent funding and policy over the past 20 years. If traffic forecasts are correct then the government will need to increase investment in the road network substantially over the next decade.

“The Committee strongly supports the five-year funding plan being introduced for the agency, but is not convinced that it is necessary to change the Highway’s Agency’s status. The government has decided to make this change so we call for a far stronger system of regulatory oversight than is currently proposed.”

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