The future of road safety – what do the manifestos say?

Election story

On 8 June, the United Kingdom will head to the polls once more, electing a new Government to lead the country.

The London Road Safety Council’s editorial team has delved into the manifestos of each of the main political parties to pick out the key information when it comes to road safety and wider road transport policy.

All information set out below is quoted directly – or in some cases paraphrased – from the respective manifestos.

We will continue to develop the strategic road network, providing extra lanes on our motorways and improving key routes whiles also paying attention to part of the country left behind because of poor transport connections. We will continue to invest in roads to fix pinch points and open up opportunities for new housing and local growth.

Our ambition is for Britain to lead the world in electric vehicle technology and use. We want almost every car and ca to be zero-emission by 2050 – and will invests £600m by 2020 to help achieve it. We will invest in more low-emission buses, as well as supporting audio-visual displays for bus passengers and community minibuses for rural areas poorly served by public transport.

We will continue to support local authorities to expand cycle networks and upgrade facilities for cyclists at railway stations.

Digital technology will also transform the management of our national infrastructure. We are leading the world in preparing for autonomous vehicles and will press ahead with our plans to use digital technology to improve our railways, so that our roads and tracks can carry more people, faster, more safely and more efficiently.

We will step up our programme of support for businesses developing these new technologies, creating a better environment for them to be tested in the UK.

Click here to view the full Conservative manifesto.

After seven years of stalled progress, Labour will reset the UK’s road safety vision and ambitiously strive for a transport network with zero deaths, reintroducing road-safety targets, setting out bold measures that will continuously improve safety standards.

We will refocus the roads building and maintenance programmes, connecting our communities, feeding public transport hubs and realising untapped economic potential.

Labour will invest in a modern, integrated, accessible and sustainable transport system that is reliable and affordable.

Our transport systems illustrate the abject failure of Tory policies: relentless deregulation, privatisation and fragmentation. They say we get choice and efficiency but the reality of their transport privatisations has been that services are less reliable, safety is compromised, fares have risen, ticketing has become complicated and air quality has worsened.

Labour will encourage expansion of public freight services in a publicly owned railway that will leave our roads freer of traffic and our air cleaner.

A Labour government will invest to regenerate the local and regional economies across the whole country, so that every area gets its fair share of transport investment.

We will invite the National Infrastructure Commission to recommend the next stages for developing and upgrading the National Cycle Network. We reaffirm the commitments in the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. We will continue to upgrade our highways and improve roadworks at known bottlenecks.

Click here to view the full Labour manifesto.

Liberal Democrats
Air pollution in the UK is a killer. It contributes to 40,000 premature deaths a year and costs the NHS £15 billion. This year, London exceeded its annual air pollution target in just five days. The government has failed time and again to comply with EU limits on pollution.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats will pass a Green Transport Act, introduce an Air Quality Plan to reduce air pollution and protect UK citizens and support the manufacture of low-emission and electric vehicles, generating jobs and exports. This plan will include:

  • A diesel scrappage scheme, and a ban on the sale of diesel cars and small vans in the UK by 2025.
  • Extending Ultra-Low Emission Zones to 10 more towns and cities.
  • All private hire vehicles and diesel buses licensed to operate in urban areas to run on ultra-low emission or zero emission fuels within five years.

We will also reform vehicle taxation to encourage sales of electric and low-emission vehicles and develop electric vehicle infrastructure including universal charging points.

High-quality public transport is essential to building sustainable communities and the local and national economy. Britain needs better transport infrastructure and less congestion and pollution on the roads.

To build a transport system fit for the 21st century, we will:

  • Continue the Access for All programme, improving disabled access to public transport as a key priority.
  • Invest capital in major transport improvements and infrastructure. We will:
    – Shift more freight from road to rail
    – Ensure London’s transport infrastructure is improved to withstand the pressure of population and economic growth.
    – Encourage the swift take-up of electric and driverless vehicles.

To protect and extend local public transport, we will:

  • Introduce a new Young Person’s Bus Discount Card, for young people aged 16–21, giving a two-thirds discount on bus travel – allowing young people to access education, apprenticeships, and work.
  • Halt the decline in bus services and carry out a review of bus funding and bus policies.
  • Design towns and cities as safe and attractive walking spaces and implement the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report.

Click here to view the full Liberal Democrats manifesto.

The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)
Everyone understands the frustration of being stuck in a traffic jam or going nowhere on a delayed train or bus. UKIP will improve our existing transport infrastructure instead of investing in vanity projects such as HS2 and the environmentally destructive third runway at Heathrow.

Britain’s prosperity depends upon an operational road system and reliable public transport network. When transport goes wrong, it has an impact on our economy and our business, and makes life miserable and stressful for those experiencing delays and cancellations. UKIP will get the basics right, and not waste hundreds of billions of pounds on unnecessary transport projects.

Electrically propelled vehicles are now a serious option for many many families but the charging infrastructure is not keeping page. UKIP will support the installation of rapid charging stations in towns and cities, and encourage off street parking and charging provisions in all new housing and industrial developments through the local planning process.

UKIP will prevent diesel drivers from being penalised through higher taxes, parking fees, or emissions’ zone charging. People bought their vehicles in good faith on government advice. Milking them now for money that simply goes into the Treasury is unacceptable.

“Motorists have had enough of being treated like cash cows and told to stop using their cars. UKIP recognises the huge contribution drivers make to our economy, and that drivig is the only viable travel option for many. We are the party that stands up for the beleaguered motorist.” – Jill Seymour, UKIP’s transport spokeswoman.

Click here to view the full UKIP manifesto.

Green Party
The Green Party will work to increase public investment in the railways, trams, ferries and buses, as well as to make our streets and roads safer for everyone.

Clean, safe, accessible public transport and more walking and cycling could make us all healthier and happier.  We need a public transport system that takes us where we need to go, affordably and reliably. It should be easy to choose to leave the car at home – or not have one at all.

  • All public transport should be fully accessible and step-free with a phase-in of free local public transport for young people, students, people with disabilities, and older people.
  • Invest in low traffic neighbourhoods and safe, convenient networks of routes for walking and cycling, including safe places for learning to cycle, so people of all ages and those with disabilities can choose to make local trips on foot, by bike or mobility scooter.
  • Help end the public health crisis caused by air pollution by increasing incentives to take diesel vehicles off the roads

Introduce a one-off fine on car manufacturers who cheated the emissions testing regime and create a new Clean Air Act, expanding and funding a mandatory clean air zone network.

Click here to view the full Green Party manifesto.