Traffic Bill clears crucial hurdle in Commons

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The Independent Online
Proposed new laws to cut road traffic in Britain's towns and cities cleared a crucial hurdle yesterday. The Private Member's Bill introduced by the Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster won an unopposed Second Reading in the Commons.

If it became law, the bill would compel local councils to draw up targets for reducing traffic, or to curb the extensive growth in traffic which is expected across the country over the next 30 years.

The measure was welcomed by the transport minister John Watts but even with his backing it will struggle to pass through both chambers before the election. The bill is backed by the Green Party, Plaid Cymru and Friends of the Earth.

The bill could help cut congestion, pollution, noise and the consequent stress and damage to health. Mr Foster said: "If we can do something about these problems we can save lives, improve the environment and save billion of pounds for the nation," he said.

A CBI statement warned there were "major flaws" in the bill. It was unrealistic unless more money was invested in the transport network and inflexible because it imposed statutory traffic targets.