The Conservatives: Banning ULEZ, scrapping 20mph blanket limits and filling pot holes

Starting with the Conservatives, as the incumbent government. It’s manifesto as far as motoring is concerned is based on its ‘Plan for Drivers’ published in October 2023.
You can read more about this at the link below.

At its heart are a series of announcements on what it will NOT do. It will not, for example, introduce road charging; indeed, it states that it will actively ban all urban mayors from introducing any road pricing, with a specific reference to London.

It will also not allow any more ULEZ zones to be introduced, and will actively work to roll back the ones in place, stating that “Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ tax rise has had only a ‘moderate’ or ‘minor’ effect on pollution.”

It will also NOT allow any more top-down blanket Low Traffic Neighbourhoods or 20mph zones.
It acknowledges that “While 20mph zones can help improve road safety in residential areas or outside schools, misuse undermines public trust and risks congestion and pollution. We are clear they must only be considered on a road-by-road basis and with the support of people who live there.

“We will require any new schemes to be put to a referendum and introduce a ‘right to challenge’ existing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and 20mph schemes.”

Electric vehicles

On electric vehicles, the Conservatives say they will make sure “charging infrastructure is truly nationwide, including rapid charging”. They will stick to the ban on new petrol and diesel sales from 2035.

On automated vehicles, legislation will be put down in the next Parliament to allow their greater adoption in Britain.

On roads, the Conservatives will invest £8.3 billion to fill potholes and resurface roads. Part of this funding will come from the cancelled second phase of HS2.

The party claims to have invested £40 billion in England’s strategic roads between 2015 and 2025, and will deliver “further investment” in the next Road Investment Strategy. This will include named road projects including the Lower Thames Crossing and the A303, and more work on the A1 between Morpeth and Ellingham.

The Tories will also maintain their pledge to build no new smart motorways and invest in improving the safety of existing ones.

Road safety – or not?

Interestingly, the Conservative manifesto, under the heading ‘Road Safety’, includes details only of its plan to rule out top-down blanket Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) and 20mph zones.
That’s an interesting link because it suggests the Tories see such plans as

compromising road safety. They might compromise traffic speed and motorists’ convenience, but it is unlikely anyone has ever suggested driving slower makes you more likely to have a crash.

Parking and fly tippers

Other details: the Tories will create a new National Parking Platform to simplify paying for parking, and give councils the power to ban pavement parking when appropriate to help older and disabled people.
Finally, why include ‘fly tipping here’?Well, the Tories have come up with a novel idea. They want to punish fly tippers by giving them penalty points on their licence.

For ADIs, who have a lower threshold of points before it becomers an issue, this will make you think twice about being a litter bug!

How others responded

The RAC said the national parking platform was a good idea, as was a Tory plan to crackdown on rip-off fuel prices by making major petrol firms pass on lower crude prices more quickly to consumers, but the complete absence of any road casualty reduction targets was a huge disappointment.

It was also concerning that by so definitely ruling out road pricing, there was no obvious way to replace fuel duty taxation revenue as motorists switch to EVs. “How will the Tories fill the blackhole in the Exchequer’s coffers?”

The AA welcomed moves on potholes but is concerned that the Tories will continue with the current smart motorway network.

“Simply saying we will build no more doesn’t go far enough,” the AA said.


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