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Transport to be central to Government policy

NEW TRANSPORT secretary Douglas Alexander vowed to put his department at the heart of government thinking in his st speech since being promoted from Europe minister last week.

Alexander said that the Department of Trade & Industry, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and the Department for Communities & Local Government all needed to be involved with transport strategy.

'[Transport] packages must be developed with a very thorough understanding of local circumstances, ' he said.

'Where are the shops, the houses, the employment centres? Where are the pressures for the future? And what does that mean for the transport network?

'I will be working in the months ahead with [environment secretary] David Milliband, [trade and industry secretary] Alistair Darling and [communities and local government secretary] Ruth Kelly to ensure that transport strategy is part of our broader Government objectives.

'This is a significant challenge but the rewards for success I believe could be substantial.

Alexander also reiterated his predecessor Darling's commitment to a national road pricing scheme.

He said that he would soon be inviting the market to take part in a series of demonstration projects which will be aimed at finding the most suitable technology to use.

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