If there have been two clear priorities for the coalition government during its tenure in office they have been, firstly, the reduction of the structural deficit in public finances and, secondly, sustained growth in the UK economy. Those two objectives don’t always sit well together, and in few areas of public policy is the tension more apparent than in transport. As a recent Department for Transport document stated: “Transport is an engine for growth and essential for everything we do… High-performing networks are essential for the UK to compete in the global race.” Yet over the course of the parliament that department, along with local government have faced sustained budgetary cuts.
Over the past year, a number of strategies and policy papers have been produced by the Department for Transport and its agencies which provide an imperative for action from local responsible authorities. Summarised below are some of the most important policy drivers aimed at producing a more economically and environmental sustainable passenger and freight transport system for the UK.
Transport: An Engine for Growth
Although in places Britain’s transport infrastructure can be ranked with some of the most comprehensive and safe systems in the world there are growing concerns that its weaknesses are acting as a brake on our economic performance. In its global competitiveness report The World Economic Forum ranks the quality of Britain’s rail network at 16th in the world, and our road system at 24th in the world – both far below policy-makers’ aspirations. Transport: An Engine for Growth set out six principles adopted by the DfT to transform our networks into accelerants rather than brakes on the economy. These principles are:
Sustainable Transport 2013 –
This Conference provides the premier platform for delegates to discuss the progress of Government’s aim to create a greener and more sustainable transport network, with a focus on:
- the policies and implementation processes behind providing the necessary infrastructure to enable higher capacity;
- the innovation and technology behind green power sources; and
- the transport planning and passenger focus required to create a sustainable network for the future.