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Congestion Charging

Volume 461: debated on Wednesday 20 June 2007

15. To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the co-ordination of Government policy on congestion charging and the urban environment; and if he will make a statement. (143847)

Over the past 10 years, this Government have spent £128 billion on transport. After 18 years of neglect, 10 years of investment mean we now have more people travelling on public transport.

Despite this, car use still continues to grow. It is not a new problem, but it has a different form from 1997—with 10 years of unprecedented economic growth, many families now have two and often three cars. Between 1997 and 2006, the number of vehicles on our roads has increased from 27 million to 33 million.

This is why we have introduced the draft Local Transport Bill. It proposes a package of measures to further empower interested local authorities to take local action to address local congestion. It also includes important measures to deliver further improvements in public transport, especially bus services.

This approach builds on our existing action to tackle the problem of congestion. For example, in the Greater London Authority Act 1999 and Transport Act 2000, we brought in the controversial legislation to allow congestion charging, which Mayor Ken Livingstone then introduced. Over the period of the scheme, it has achieved:

Congestion down by 21 per cent.

Traffic volumes down 20 per cent.

And over £300 million raised to be re-invested into London’s public transport network

We are placing buses at the heart of our transport agenda, to reverse the previous ‘deregulation’ in 1985 which did so much to damage public transport across the country.