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Friday, 16 March, 2001, 15:31 GMT
Labour: Transport and environment

Find out more about Labour party policies on transport and the environment.


THE RAIL CRISIS

The Labour party says it will not re-nationalise the railway industry.

Instead it promises a "railway renaissance" through public/private partnership.

Labour says that its 10-year 60bn railway plan is the biggest investment in rail expansion for more than a century.

26bn, will come from the public purse. The rest - 34bn - will be met by the private sector.

Some of this money Labour promises will upgrade the West Coast and East Coast Main Lines, as well as the Channel Tunnel Rail link.

Meanwhile, Labour promises that the Strategic Rail Authority and the Rail Regulator will ensure that more passengers travel more quickly and punctually, in greater comfort on modern trains.

Services will be more reliable and more frequent, with less overcrowding, says Labour.

Amid continuing public concern following recent rail disasters, the party has also pledged to see new train safety systems installed by the end of 2003.


PUBLIC TRANSPORT VERSUS THE CAR

A Labour government is committed to spending 60bn on roads and 60bn on public transport, including the tube, over the next 10 years.

Having overseen a dramatic drop in road-building in the first three years in office, Labour now believes that some road-building is necessary.

They promise this will deliver 100 new by-passes, 360 miles of trunk road and motorway widening, and up to 25 new light rail projects in major cities.

The programme aims to cut average traffic delays by 6% during the next decade.

Congestion and pollution will be tackled in part by allowing heavier, 44-tonne lorries to use the roads. This should mean far fewer lorries to move goods, the party says.

Labour also promises to increase the use of buses by 10% over the next 10 years. New school bus services would take pupils door to door.

A concessionary bus scheme for pensioners and 1.5m disabled people will also be introduced.

On the London Underground, the Labour party promises a public private partnership to fund the tube.

It will deliver 8bn in new investment and up to 5bn worth for maintenance.

There will also be money for the Mayor to reduce overcrowding and congestion in London.


CLIMATE CHANGE

Labour says that it came to power in 1997 with the most comprehensive package of environmental measures of any mainstream party in British politics.

It says that it has placed concern for the environment at the heart of government. Everything from housing policy to long-term transport targets aim to reduce global warming, improve the UK's environment and meet international agreements, while improving the economy, the party claims.

Labour says that policies such as its integrated transport policy and its leading role in international climate change talks has helped it meet promises made in 1997.

In March, Tony Blair announced that Labour in government would invest 100m in renewable energy investment, aimed at developing the UK's use of wind, wave and solar power. Ongoing policies include:

  • Cutting carbon dioxide emissions using the climate change levy to encourage industry to use environmental technologies rather than simply pollute.
    Labour says that the climate change levy is financially "neutral" for business because it was introduced along with a cut in employers' national insurance contributions.
  • A Carbon Trust to channel funds into environmental business practises
  • Supporting offshore wind power and biomass initiatives through New Opportunities fund.
  • Duty cuts to ultra-low sulphur petrol to encourage less environmentally-damaging car use
  • A 50 million scheme and statutory targets for recycling and composting
  • Establishing a government office to export leading British environmental technologies.


    THE PRICE OF FUEL

    Labour says that it has introduced a series of measures as part of the 2001 Budget which are the equivalent of a 4p cut in fuel duty.

    These comprise:

  • Freezing fuel duty until 2002 Cutting duty on low-sulphur fuel
  • Cuts to vehicle excise duty for hauliers
  • A proposed "Brit disc" to levy charges on foreign lorries in the UK

    Labour also added an additional 2p cut to unleaded fuel tax until 14 June because low-sulphur fuel is still not nationally available.

    The party denies the Conservative claim that it has put up fuel duty by 16p since taking office, saying that it has scrapped the fuel-duty escalator it inherited from the previous government.

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