We analyse Liberal Democrats' transport policy; transport spokesperson's election pledge
6 May 2010

What have the Liberal Democrats done in the past?

The Liberal Democrats have never formed a government, but their attitude towards drivers is well reflected by Lib Dem local councils.

- Most famously, the Lib Dem council in Richmond, south-west London, has introduced parking and resident permit charges based on CO2 emissions.

- The policy was to “change behaviour” and force families out of large-engined vehicles, even though parked vehicles emit no pollutants.

- Zealous control of parking has been a Lib Dem favourite since the mid-2000s, when Islington council went on a de-parking rampage. It removed road-side parking spaces and hiked-up charges. Draconian enforcement ratcheted up the number of fines.

- Local businesses began a vociferous protest, claiming that trade was being hit because shoppers could no longer visit by car.

- The council was later voted out of office, with many commentators suggesting that handing out expensive fines to local drivers proved a vote loser.

Statement from transport spokesperson Norman Baker

“We believe that maintaining the existing road network is essential and that sometimes there is a good economic case for building new roads locally. That is why we supported pledges to put more money into fixing potholes and would not cut the regional funding allocation for building strategic roads.

“However, we would require any new roads to meet strict economic and environmental criteria and are very wary of building huge new national motorways that can end up actually increasing traffic, cut through the green belt and damage the environment.

“We believe that motorists should be charged fairly for the use they make of the roads and in the longer term we want to move away from a system that taxes car ownership in favour of one that takes account of the use motorists make of the roads.

“And in the short term, we believe that fuel duty should be cut for remote, rural areas.”Click here to read the Conservative's track record on transport, plus a statement from its transport spokespersonClick here to read Labour's track record on transport, plus a statement from the current transport minister

Join the debate


4 May 2010

[quote Autocar]However, we would require any new roads to meet strict economic and environmental criteria[/quote]

The most polluting car is the one stuck in traffic going nowhere.

Every new road that provides more capacity and quicker journey times is by definition environmentally friendly. A car is only a means from A to B, and if you shorten that distance and reduce the time taken, you reduce the resources required to make that journey.

People don't get up in the morning and decide they want to be stuck in congestion! And if a new road brings more traffic to it, that's more business being created in the UK, more jobs, and that will bring economic and social benefits that simply can't be measured.

Although driving is a pleasure, something to be enjoyed. We shouldn't ever forget that.

4 May 2010

[quote Autocar]Most famously, the Lib Dem council in Richmond, south-west London, has introduced parking and resident permit charges based on CO2 emissions.[/quote]

To be fair, the air quality in Richmond was absolutely terrible, and it did improve when that measure was introduced. Still, with all due respect to the Lib Dems, it's the Tories who get my vote, because the LDs clearly haven't a clue when it comes to addressing the questions we want answered, the problems we want solved.

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