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Election 2005
News and Policies

 
Introduction

Many motorists would like to see road safety and speed cameras as central issues for election campaigning. Sadly this is not presently the case. (17th April 2005)

We set out election news and party policies on this page.

Added for clarity. Safe Speed is NOT recommending a Conservative vote. Safe Speed has no political alignment. However we hope that the very considerable risk of lost votes will persuade the other parties to offer something substantial to reduce the pain of motorists.

News
  • later news will be added here
  • 17th April. Christopher Booker says speed cameras are low on the agenda because of future European management of our roads. (click here)
Conservatives

The Conservatives are presently very quiet on speed cameras and road safety issues. Their manifesto contains only this:

A Conservative Government will end Labour's war on the motorist. We will modernise Britain's road network and review all speed cameras to ensure they are there to save lives, not make money.
But previous documents and speeches have contained a firm commitment to disband the camera partnerships, for example: (this) Contains:
The 10 Point Safer Driving Plan in full

· Recognition that cameras are not enough- our policy would promote intelligent driving by improving road design, and the effectiveness of alternatives to penalty-generating cameras, such as electronic sign indicators and driver education. 

· To restore public confidence, an independent audit of the estimated 6000 speed cameras in Britain, in order to establish safety needs and positioning of existing fixed speed cameras. Fixed speed cameras will be positioned in genuine accident black spots. The safety criteria for siting each camera would be published on a website, along with the revenue (or the number of fines imposed) generated from that camera each year.

· Speed limits to be changed-limits near schools, parks etc to be reduced, perhaps at certain times of day only with flashing warning signs. (e.g. 20 mph outside all schools). These speed limits may be variable at times when the school is not in use.

· Move to variable penalty points. Points would range from 1 point to 6 points. Standard fine to remain. Bans for excessive speeds would remain.

· Extend driver education programmes for those caught speeding. Any offender with less than six points will have one opportunity to take a driver awareness course, paid for by the cost of the fine, rather than have points on their licence.

· Revenue generated from cameras to be spent on road safety, including alternatives to cameras, such as flashing electronic displays. Communities would be encouraged to bid for money for placing such displays where residents want them. 

· More active traffic policing - we want intelligent policing and intelligent drivers. 

· Abolish camera partnerships as an unnecessary tier of bureaucracy. Police to be responsible for enforcement. 

· Every speed camera to have the speed limit sign clearly displayed on the camera, as well as on each speed camera warning sign. 

· Change planning laws which prohibit the use of 30mph repeater signs, to allow clearer indication of speed limits on all roads.

I rang the Conservative Party press office and they confirm that scrapping the partnerships remains Conservative policy. They have frequently mentioned raising the motorway speed limit to 80mph. (No written reference to hand)
Labour

Clearly we're very familiar with Labour's road safety policy. However their manifesto contains:

Major investment is planned to expand capacity on the M1, M6 and M25. We must also manage road space better. We are examining the potential benefits of a parallel Expressway on the M6 corridor. We will introduce car-pool lanes for cars with more than one passenger on suitable roads and explore other ways to lock in the benefit of new capacity. We will complete the introduction of Traffic Management Officers to keep traffic flowing. Because of the long-term nature of transport planning, we will seek political consensus in tackling congestion, including examining the potential of moving away from the current system of motoring taxation towards a national system of road-pricing.

We will give all over-60s, and disabled people, free off-peak local bus travel and give local authorities the freedom to provide more generous schemes. We will continue to support growth in bus provision including innovation in school transport, with greater opportunity for local authorities to control their bus networks where they are demonstrating value for money and taking strong measures to tackle congestion. To facilitate improved public transport provision, we will explore giving Passenger Transport Executives greater powers over local transport.

We will continue funding local authorities and voluntary groups to make cycling and walking more attractive. We are committed to reducing child deaths and serious injuries on the road by 50 per cent, and we will continue to work to reduce dangerous driving, especially drink driving and uninsured driving. We will work with industry to make travel on public transport safer and more secure.

So nothing about scaling down the war on the motorist then.
Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrat manifesto contains:

Promote walking and cycling. Fewer school-run car journeys means less pollution, less congestion and fewer road deaths. Children walking or cycling to school also get fitter – but the journey must be safe. Liberal Democrats will encourage and promote nationally what many Liberal Democrat councils already do locally, such as ‘Safe Routes to School’ with calmed traffic, safe pavements, good lighting and adults on hand to conduct ‘walking buses’. We will also provide more cycle routes and reform planning rules to make sure that key services are more easily accessible by foot or bicycle. This will benefit adults as well as children.
[point of order - fewer school run journeys by car would be very likely increase child road deaths. Pedestrians are more vulnerable, and in the case of children, far less protected from the risks associated with their own errors.]
Reward owners of less polluting cars with lower taxes. For many people, particularly in rural areas, cars are a necessity and cannot be replaced by public transport. But they can be far less damaging to the environment when they use less fuel or alternative fuels. We will start by reforming the Vehicle Excise Duty system (‘road tax’) to cut tax altogether on cars that pollute least, funded by increasing it on those that pollute more. Congestion charging in London (first proposed by the Liberal Democrats) has cut pollution, cut traffic jams and paid for new investment in buses. We will encourage more cities and towns where traffic congestion is a problem to extend congestion charging, linked to up-front investment in better public transport to give millions real alternatives to the car and to reduce the need to drive. In the longer term, as technology allows, we will scrap petrol duties and VED altogether, replacing the revenue with a national road user charging system based on location, congestion and pollution (including the level of pollution of the particular vehicle). As a result, pollution and congestion will be better targeted, with no need for the present system of heavy taxes on every journey. 

Free off-peak local bus travel for all pensioners and disabled people. Liberal Democrats were the first to make the case for giving all pensioners and disabled people free off-peak local bus travel, and have already done so in Scotland and Wales. We will implement this policy, and we will in addition provide all pensioners, disabled people, families and young people with their rail discount cards free.

Cut lorry traffic, reduce pollution, and make towns and villages safer. In office, Labour has now increased road building, while the Conservatives’ plans would concrete over an area half the size of London with new roads. Both their approaches mean more traffic and pollution, not less. We will not proceed with major new road-building schemes unless the benefits are clear, including environmental and safety factors and a full assessment of alternative public transport schemes. Resources switched from the roads programme will be used to increase investment in public transport, and we will promote safer cycle and pedestrian routes throughout towns and cities. In addition, we will encourage the development of freight interchanges to facilitate growth in rail freight, and we will develop a shipping, ports and waterways strategy.

UKIP

The UKIP Manifesto contains the following:
 

TRANSPORT 

There are always going to be calls for better and cheaper public transport but, for many journeys, road will remain the cheapest and most convenient means of transport both for freight and private use. While UKIP recognises the conflict between road building and environmental concerns, there was little justification for the government's cutbacks in road building and maintenance. We regard adequate spending on roads as essential. 

The EU is, however, embarking on considerable interference in our road transport. An extension of the Working Time Directive means increases in costs and a shortage of drivers. The Road Pricing Directive will put an electronic 'spy' in HGV cabs, purportedly for use with motorway tolls. The EU Transport White Paper speaks ominously about the "rational use of the car" and "shifting the modal balance" presumably against car use. 

Similarly, our railways have been plagued by continual management restructuring since the EU obliged us to separate responsibility for train operations from tracks and infrastructure. We are now to be subjected to more directives controlling access rights and the "Third Railway Package" opening Britain's passenger networks to rail companies from across the EU. 

The UK Independence Party insists that transport in Britain, both road and rail, should be Britain's own business. Outside the EU we shall be free to evaluate which rail management structures are best for safety and efficiency, including a possible return to the position where a single body controls track and train over given routes. UKIP welcomes the current expenditure on upgrading our railways and will continue it. 

Regarding road usage, we favour more local autonomy over local traffic management. We shall consider raising some speed limits, particularly on motorways, where this can be done without impairing safety. We shall also confine the use of speed cameras to locations where there is an established safety risk. Maintaining unrealistic speed limits and arbitrarily trapping offenders only brings the law into contempt.

Links etc
 
  • BBC Election coverage
  • BBC Poll tracker
  • Safe Speed efforts so far to get this on the agenda:
    • Recent media appearences
    • Highlighting that 12 million drivers have been convicted by speed camera raising £700 million without the roads getting safer (Safe Speed calculation, released to get the Daily Express front page (6th April):



      Advert in House magazine (appeared 4th April and again 18th April (tomorrow)) (click here)
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    Copyright © SafeSpeed 2005
    Created 17/04/2005. Last update 17/04/2005
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