Transport Secretary Mark Harper unveils measures to support the nation’s drivers
The Conservative party, steered by Transport Secretary Mark Harper, has introduced measures designed to alleviate restrictions viewed as overly punitive towards motorists. These changes come amidst concerns that local councils have been unduly profiting from minor traffic offences and treating drivers as simple revenue sources.
Central to these changes is the decision to prevent the imposition of universal 20mph speed limits, making it easier for citizens to contest major road restrictions. There is also an initiative to scrutinise councils believed to be reaping exaggerated profits from traffic infractions, especially in areas such as yellow box junctions. Bus lanes will henceforth be enforced only during high-demand periods, and there’s potential for re-evaluation of low-traffic neighbourhoods that don’t command substantial support.
Transport Secretary Harper, conveying the essence of these reforms, stated, “We recognise for most people the car is really important… We want to ensure that people have proper choices about how they travel.” This underscores the importance of cars in many Britons’ lives, in addition to promoting walking and cycling.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak supported these shifts, criticising measures like LTNs and 20mph zones for burdening drivers. He emphasised the significance of not penalising drivers unnecessarily, noting the crucial role cars play in the daily lives of many Britons.
Separately, the ongoing railway strikes also captured Harper’s attention. The Transport Secretary affirmed his position against union demands, referencing the significant reduction in railway revenues since the pandemic and advocating for essential reforms.
However, uncertainty persists regarding the future of the HS2 rail link connecting Birmingham to Manchester. Former PM Boris Johnson had previously warned of the risks of neglecting the north and the overarching “levelling up” agenda. Source