Transport strategy attacked for lack of ‘green vision’

Ruth Kelly today unveiled the government’s new transport strategy, designed to increase economic competitiveness without harming the environment.

The transport secretary argued it is a “false choice” to assume policies can either be “poor and green” or “rich and dirty”.

However, environmental campaigners warned the government risks pursuing a contradictory transport policy; undermining targets for emissions cuts by support for motorway expansion and aviation.

Ms Kelly maintained the government must “support people’s desire for mobility” while working to reduce carbon emissions.

Today’s strategy paper – Towards a Sustainable Transport System – marks the first stage of a consultation process on a new transport system and the government’s response to the Eddington Transport Study and Stern Report.

The Liberal Democrats have already rejected the proposed policy as inadequate.

Transport spokesman Susan Kramer said it amounted to a “list of every transport idea ministers have read on a website” and not a coherent vision.

Ms Kramer urged to government to invest in a high speed rail network, back a national road pricing scheme and charge a levy on domestic flights.

The Green party were also unimpressed, concluding there were “no bones” that the Department for Transport’s number one goal is economic competitiveness.

Caroline Lucas, the Greens’ principal speaker, said Ms Kelly was “irresponsibly and short-sighted” to pour more money into roads.

Friends of the Earth added their own concerns at support for motorway widening and airport expansion, arguing urgent action is needed to curb emissions.