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EDITIONS
Blair years Monday, 6 May, 2002, 08:37 GMT 09:37 UK
Labour's 1997 pledges: Environment and transport
The following page details Labour's activity in government on the environment and transport, based on what it committed itself to in the manifesto. Some pledges have been omitted for the sake of brevity. No judgement has been made to the inherent value of the pledge, but important criticisms are included where applicable.

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WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"All departments must promote policies to sustain the environment. Parliament should have an environmental audit committee to ensure high standards across government."
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
Whether the Government could ever "ensure" that sustainable development was implemented across all departments is open for debate. However, in November 1997 it did appoint the Environmental Audit Committee charged with looking at how departments were pursuing sustainable development.

WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"A sustainable environment requires above all an effective and integrated transport policy at national, regional and local level ..."
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
The government published a white paper on integrated Transport in 1998 which was later expanded into the 10 Year Transport Plan. The government also set up an independent Commission for Integrated Transport to "review the Government's progress".
CRITICISMS AND QUALIFICATIONS
Transport remains one of the most controversial issues for this government. While it can say that it kept to the letter of the manifesto, critics say that it has so far failed to actually achieve its goals. The rail network, at the centre of the scheme, remains mired in controversy after the collapse of Railtrack. While urban light railway schemes are underway in some cities, plans to completely overhaul the London Underground have been delayed by two years of argument over how to pay for it. Independent analysis of the government's ambitious 10 year plan has raised serious questions about whether or not the figures will ultimately add up. Campaigners have also complained that early moves towards radical measures such as congestion charging have been hampered by ministerial timidity before the roads lobby.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"We will establish more effective and accountable regulation by the rail regulator; we will ensure that the public subsidy serves the public interest; and we will establish a new rail authority ... "
CONCLUSION: DEBATABLE
The government did set up the Strategic Rail Authority in February 2001 and so met part of the pledge. The SRA has published a strategic plan. However, the effectiveness of the body at providing a plan that meets passenger expectations is up for debate given the continuing controversy over the future of the entire industry.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"Labour plans a new public/private partnership to improve the Underground, safeguard its commitment to the public interest and guarantee value for money ..."
CONCLUSION: ON COURSE
The government announced in February 2002 that it was going ahead with plans for part-privatisation of the London Underground despite wide-spread opposition in the capital, led by the mayor Ken Livingstone. The issue remains mired in controversy with opponents insisting that PPP is fundamentally flawed on both financial and safety grounds.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"The key to efficient bus services is proper regulation at local level, with partnerships between local councils and bus operators an essential component ... there must be improved provision and enforcement of bus lanes."
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
Traffic Commissioners have been appointed to enforce standards within the bus industry. The 2000 Transport Act made provision for "Quality Partnerships" between local authorities and bus companies. The government has earmarked some 19 billion of the 10-year transport plan for bus improvements, including provision of bus lanes. It is arguable how well they are enforced.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"Better parking facilities for cars must be linked to convenient bus services to town centres."
CONCLUSION: DEBATABLE
The 10-year plan and Commission for Integrated Transport both pledged more park and ride schemes. But there is little evidence yet of a systematic improvement in park-ride schemes.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"Cycling and walking must be made safer, especially around schools."
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
The latest figures for deaths and injuries to pedestrians and cyclists show they have fallen compared to the 1994-98 average. The government launched a road safety strategy in 2000 which included extensive literature aimed at teaching children how to be safe either on foot or on bicycles.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"The review of vehicle excise duty to promote low-emission vehicles will be continued."
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
In the 2001 pre-budget statement Gordon Brown announced that he would be be reforming vehicle excise duty and company car tax systems to reward less polluting cars.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:

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