Political opinion: Henry Smith MP says: 'We're sticking to the plan to improve journeys for drivers'

This item has been supplied by the office of Henry Smith MP. Henry Smith MP says: 'We're sticking to the plan to improve journeys for drivers' as Government announces new Plan for Drivers measures.
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People should be able to travel in the way that works best for them, but too many people feel that traffic schemes are being implemented by councils without local consent.

That is why the Government is sticking with the plan by delivering its Plan for Drivers, giving local people a stronger voice on road schemes that affect them by cracking down on anti-driver road schemes, overzealous traffic enforcement and strengthening guidance on 20mph limits.

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While drivers in Wales and London are being penalised with blanket 20mph limits and the expanded ULEZ charge, the Government is on the side of drivers as it sticks with the plan to make driving easier, fairer and cheaper.

Henry Smith MP has welcomed new measures by the Government to tackle anti-driver road schemes and overzealous traffic enforcement, helping to reduce journey times for motorists as part of its long-term Plan for Drivers.

Henry said: “It’s right for Government to stick to the plan to improve journeys for drivers, ensuring local councils engage with the community ahead of any traffic schemes being introduced so that only those with support will go ahead.

“This Government are on the side of drivers as they take the long-term decisions to make road journeys easier, fairer and cheaper as we build a brighter future.”

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Draft statutory guidance for councils has been published on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), setting out that there must be community engagement and support for proposed schemes to ensure every LTN has local consent before it is implemented.

The guidance will come into force this summer to tackle recent problems highlighted with councils introducing LTNs without public support, causing huge disruption for drivers. Concerns have also been raised about the unintended negative consequences for local people, particularly for disabled residents and the delays caused to emergency service responders caught up in LTNs, potentially risking lives.

The aim is to prevent councils having to reverse poorly implemented or locally unpopular schemes.

Councils are also receiving strengthened guidance on setting 20mph speed limits, reminding them they should only be used in sensible and appropriate areas such as outside schools, and where safety and local support is at the heart of the decision.

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Alongside driving schemes, consultations are being launched to tackle overzealous enforcement and prevent local councils from turning drivers into ‘cash cows’ by profiting from traffic restrictions. £50 million has also been announced to upgrade traffic lights across 80 highway authorities, improving journey times and reducing congestion caused by red lights.

These announcements are part of the Government’s 30-point Plan for Drivers, which is already making progress to benefit motorists. Measures to crack down on disruptive streetworks will reduce unnecessary delays to journeys and grants for schools have been launched to accelerate the rollout of electric vehicles chargepoints, making it easier for drivers to make the switch.

The Government is on the side of drivers, as they stick with the plan to reduce journey times and make driving easier, fairer and cheaper, building a brighter future.

The Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper, commented: “We want local people to have their voices heard, and any traffic schemes to have the consent of those they impact.

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“Well thought out schemes, like 20mph limits outside schools, can make our roads safer, but we are raising the bar to help ensure all traffic schemes work for everyone in the community.

“We’re on the side of drivers, and these latest measures show we’re getting on with delivering what we promised in our Plan for Drivers – making their lives better, fairer and cheaper, and helping people travel in the way that works best for them.”