Detail of outcome
This is our response to the public comments received on the coalition: our programme for government on transport.
Thank you for the wide range of comments on the transport elements of the programme for government, by far the largest number of which were focused on proposals for a high speed rail network and broadly fell into three themes: what role will the high speed train fulfil in the UK; what route will the line follow; and, what consultation will there be.
Our vision is of a truly national high speed rail network for the whole of Britain. We believe it can play a significant role in promoting a low carbon economy thereby helping to make our country greener and more sustainable. We believe it will be a transformational project that will revolutionise travel between our major cities and will almost eliminate the need for internal domestic flights. This is supported by the detailed work already carried out by High Speed Two Ltd. Investment in high speed rail would not come at the expense of conventional lines, but would help relieve passenger congestion on existing routes.
To establish a high speed network that delivers the most significant benefits for the country, we will look carefully at how it can be linked up with major airports such as Heathrow, and will consider how it can also link to the international high speed network via High Speed 1 and the Channel Tunnel. It also means making sure that we take appropriate steps to balance the national interest in developing a new high speed line with its potential impact on the local environment and communities. It is important that all those with an interest in high speed rail have the opportunity to make their views known, so no final decisions will be taken until after a full public consultation on both our proposed strategy for high speed rail and on the route that any new line might take. We expect to begin such a consultation in the New Year.
The responses also confirmed the continuing priority given to road safety. Our programme for government promotes a balanced approach to road safety. We will stop central government funding for new fixed speed cameras and switch to more effective ways of making our roads safer, including authorising ‘drugalyser’ technology. Responses identified a wide range of possible solutions to road safety problems, and we will be reflecting these ideas as we develop our forward programme of road safety activity later in the year.
We also received some constructive ideas for improving our transport provision and have set out these below with our response:
- advertising traffic orders on the internet as well as in the press - we will look to give local authorities more flexibility in how they advertise their orders and will investigate how we could abolish the need for many traffic regulation orders
- turning off motorway lights at times of low usage - we have started to run trials on this on the M6 and will look to extend it further soon
- cutting down the number of repeater traffic signals - we agree local authorities should cut back on unnecessary traffic signs and signal and we will make sure our street design advice gives them practical ideas for doing this safely
Call for responses to the coalition: our programme for government on transport, which sets out a programme for partnership government.