The Freight Transport Association (FTA) recently welcomed the government’s £4bn package to improve local transport up to 2011.
The funding, announced by transport minister Rosie Winterton, is in addition to the £8.5bn provided to local authorities over the last seven years. The FTA believes, however, that further funds are needed to reduce congestion and improve air quality and road safety.
‘The key objective for local authorities is to stimulate further economic growth by cutting congestion on their roads,’ said Stephen Kelly, FTA head of Urban Access Policy. ‘Road congestion is one of the biggest issues facing local authorities today. This announcement provides a platform for local authorities to take forward integrated transport improvements such as the provision of essential user lanes – buses and lorries sharing the same road space. Industry itself is taking significant strides in trying to reduce its impact on daytime congestion.
‘We have seen the introduction of consolidation centres which reduce the number of separate deliveries to one destination by providing facilities where deliveries can be collected together and transferred onto a single vehicle for onward delivery to the end destination. Furthermore, industry is keen to work in partnership with local authorities to undertake night-time deliveries as this seems to be the simplest and most cost effective method of cutting emissions and congestion. This would alleviate many of the problems faced by transport operators as well as helping to tackle congestion overall by removing HGVs from peak hour traffic.’
The £4bn package includes £2bn for highways capital maintenance which Kelly believes will go some way to tackling the shortfall in maintenance funds of local authorities, helping to improve road safety.