Headlines: January 27th, 2010

A coalition of campaign groups is calling for the next Government to rethink transport priorities. They have produced a manifesto, ‘Improving Everyday Transport’, which says shifting the focus to local public transport would lead to savings and help the environment.

The group includes Friends of the Earth, the Campaign for Better Transport, Campaign to Protect Rural England, CTC, the national cyclists’ organisation, and Living Streets. They argue that big projects in aviation or high-speed rail attract political and media attention but smaller initiatives such as cycling schemes and cheaper public transport would have more of an impact on the economy and the environment.

The delivery of public transport and local schemes to get more people to walk or cycle is variable, the group says, and it wants the Government to implement them uniformly. The manifesto says transport has a role to play in reducing carbon emissions, the transport budget should be spent on maintaining and improving existing infrastructure and that people in all areas should have a range of transport options. It claims these measures would allow the Government to come in under budget at a time when spending cuts have to be made.

The Executive Director of the Campaign for Better Transport, Stephen Joseph, said the manifesto was about practical and affordable changes to improve everyday transport. Andy Atkins, of Friends of the Earth, called on all political parties to set out plans to cut carbon from transport and added: “We can’t wait for cleaner cars and planes to be developed. We need bold action now to improve public transport and make walking and cycling more attractive options.”