Lords go for Green Paper
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MANY AREAS of Britain are facing " a virtual cessation of public transport," Lord Mowbray and Stourton told a House of Lords debate on the Government's Green Paper on transport this week.
He told the House that what the country needed was a transport service and not merely a transport system. The Government's consultative document had made no attempt to break down the f.:130m in bus subsidies— essential information if the future of the bus industry was to be properly debated.
Lord Mowbray, Opposition spokesman on the environment in the Lords, said that Britain's bus system was "stricken by inertia and besotted by subsidy."
Environment Under-Secretary Lady Birk told the House that concern or enthusiasm for relaxing the licensing laws for buses was understandable, but she made it clear that there was no intention of letting "cowboys" into bus operating.
It was easy to argue that the Government should favour either road or rail at the expense of the other, but the road versus rail argument was a barren one said Lady Birk.
There was no case for substantial changes in the present rail network. The quality of the services being run had not declined and there had been a significant improvement in recent years.
The debate also heard a call from Lord Champion to increase the taxation on heavy lorries. He wanted to see increased parking charges and restrictions on the company car.
Lady Birk told the House of Lords that it was vital that the transport industry was efficient and cost effective and provided a flexible service responsive to changing social needs and allowed the consumer a choice of means of transport.