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Congestion (London)

Volume 176: debated on Wednesday 18 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what immediate steps his Department will be taking to alleviate London's congestion problems;(2) if he will make a statement on London's congestion problems.

The Government are determined to ensure that London has the transport system it needs to remain a pre-eminent financial and business centre.

The number of people commuting to work in central London has increased over the last eight years, reflecting the success of the Government's overall economic policies and the transformation of Docklands. This has sharply increased demand for rail and underground services. There has been a slight increase in road traffic.

To meet this demand, we have backed a £2.2 billion programme of investment by London Transport over the next three years—nearly double in real terms investment for the last three years.

British Rail plan to invest £1.2 billion in their Network SouthEast sector over the next three years, a 30 per cent. increase in real terms over the previous three years.

It is not our policy to make it easier for commuters to drive to work in central London. Our priorities for the road system are to improve the north circular road and provide better access to east London and dock lands, to tackle accident blackspots and bottlenecks, to support more effective parking controls and to get traffic out of environmentally sensitive areas. This work is estimated to cost nearly £3 billion over the next 10 years.

We shall shortly be consulting on detailed proposals for priority routes and other measures to enable traffic in London to flow more freely and safely. Particular attention will be given to measures to make bus travel more attractive.