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Climate change could scupper transport plan

INCREASINGLY EXTREME weather could divert cash away from the Government's 10 year transport plan and scupper targets to cut traffic congestion by 5%, the Independent Transport Commission (ITC) warned this week.

In a report - Tomorrow's transport - the commission says that a 'combination of wetter, stormier winters and hotter, drier summers could necessitate remedial investment in roads, railways, flood defences, water supply and coastal protection'.

It adds: 'Should this arise, investment in infrastructure might be diverted from the priorities in the 10 year plan.'

The ITC was formed with the support of Southampton University in 1999 to 'fill a gap in UK transport planning'. Its report lists shortcomings in planning and procurement, shortages of engineers and slow introduction of congestion and workplace parking charges by local authorities as other impediments to the 10 year plan targets.

Site protests at environmentally sensitive road schemes are likely to delay some of the 100 road bypasses identified in the plan, while slower than forecast growth in rail travel leading to reduced borrowing capacity by the rail industry could considerably shrink the planned £60bn investment in railways by 2010.

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