Examination of Witness (Questions 600
WEDNESDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2002
600. You heard the exchange about congestion
charging and workplace parking schemes. It looks as though they
are all going down the pan now. What can you do to reverse this
and persuade local authorities to get on with them?
(Mr Joseph) What we wanted to see, as we have said
in the evidence, is clear government leadership in this respect.
The Government cannot pretend that it can solve transport problems
by providing public transport as an alternative and building more
roads. The Multi-Modal Studies themselves say it will not work.
But also you cannot provide better bus services unless you take
some of the space way from cars and give buses priority. Even
at that level we will need to have some restraint of traffic.
Congestion charging and workplace parking charges have the added
benefit that they produce a revenue stream which can pay for better
public transport and certainly cities like Nottingham, despite
large scale pressure from some elements in the business community,
seem very keen on using those powers. What we have seen is a wholesale
lack of support from government. What we have been trying to do
through our local groups is alert people to the consequences of
what happens if you do not have this sort of charging at this
level. Certainly in London that is what we need.
601. Do you think you are going to have an impact
on the decision in London or do you think it is touch and go?
(Mr Joseph) I think that however important we in Transport
2000 think we are, our involvement in this is only going to be
one small element in the decision. We do believe that congestion
charging in London is right. If anything, we would like to see
it extended in terms of area and charge.
602. Is it not more important to get it working
(Mr Joseph) Yes, we do think it is very important
to get it working somewhere and we have been very supportive of
the authorities that are planning to do this such as Nottingham
as well as in London.
603. Skill shortages; how much of the plan is
at risk because there are not really the skilled people to do
(Mr Joseph) It depends on which elements of the plan
you are talking about.
604. You tell me which bits are in trouble.
(Mr Joseph) I do not think the road building elements
are in trouble. There seem to be lots of firms prepared to lay
some concrete out there and design roads. I think the real concerns
are about skills shortages at a local authority level, particularly
in effective consultation techniques and bringing people together
to decide on local schemes, and also on the public transport side
in terms of planning public transport and indeed at an operational
level in terms of the driving of trains and buses.
605. What would be the things you would change
if you rewrote the plan? You would say the common pot should not
be divided the way it is at the moment, the Multi-Modal Studies
should ensure that the roads are not built before the transport
system is there; what else?
(Mr Joseph) We would like to see some targeting of
traffic. There are some key concerns that traffic itself is a
problem. We would like to see constant motoring costs rather than
reductions. I think we would like to see some real emphasis on
packages of small-scale measures which we think can provide a
real alternative both to road building and to traffic growth.
606. Can you give us one example?
(Mr Joseph) Yes, we have looked at what the employer
travel plans are producing. This has only been going for a few
years now, but we have looked at 20 employer schemes and they
seem, even within two or three years, to be producing real reductions
in car use of something of the order of ten per cent minimum,
in some cases as much as 20 per cent.
607. This is car sharing, is it?
(Mr Joseph) It involves a long list of measures. It
includes car sharing so it is not about saying to employees you
cannot commute by car but it is making car sharing possible by
matching people together and by providing a guaranteed ride home
if car sharing does not work and employer provided bus services
and cycle parking and showers and changing areas at work. There
is a vast range of measures. These seem to be very effective and
they are particularly effective if the local authority do other
things such as quality bus partnerships and cycle routes in areas
outside the factory gates, as it were.
608. So the opinion is that the plan is written
from the wrong angle, it has got all the wrong priorities and
needs to be rewritten from the ground up, or do I exaggerate?
(Mr Joseph) I think there are some elements in the
Ten Year Planlocal transport money and so onthat
are fine. It is the emphasis on big schemes as opposed to small
schemes that is the particular problem.
Chairman: Thank you very much indeed for your
evidence. The Committee stands adjourned.