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Interchange leads call for transport reform

THE GOVERNMENT must take a stronger lead to develop congestion charging schemes, urged chairman of the Commission for Integrated Transport David Begg as he kicked off Interchange, the UK's first integrated transport event this week.

He insisted that the Government must 'place more emphasis' on congestion charging schemes, which he described as being at the heart of integrated transport policy.

In the keynote session of the conference, Begg told delegates:

'If I have one criticism of the Government's integrated transport policy it is that they haven't articulated the case for congestion charging. It's vital that they do.'

Skanska chief executive Keith Clarke also told the conference that a better definition of integrated transport projects was needed at the conceptual stage.

'The lack of definition of projects from an integrated transport point of view is startling.

Consultants are still producing the wrong information at the wrong time.'

Clarke added that Government had to play a stronger role.

'We can't leave definition to the private sector, ' he said. 'We can't be expected to deliver a multi-disciplinary, multi-modal, multi-responsibility piece of infrastructure unless the policy framework is fully defined by Government.'

Interchange president and former transport minister Steve Norris, called on the Government to make it compulsory for all businesses benefiting from major transport infrastructure projects, such as the Jubilee Line Extension, to contribute to the cost when the value of their property will clearly rise.

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