Transport: Anti-car scheme `under attack'

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JOHN PRESCOTT'S grand plan to get motorists out of their cars and on to public transport is being undermined by rival government departments, MPs said yesterday.

A Commons Committee accused Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, and Stephen Byers, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, of failing to back the Deputy Prime Minister's integrated transport strategy.

Members of the Transport Committee said financial backing for the plans was "inadequate". The committee said the Treasury and the DTI put the economic growth generated by greenfield developments ahead of concerns on traffic growth. MPs called for a ban on out-of-town development that would attract a lot of motorists.

But the report's impact was undermined by a local council decision to allow Vodafone to build its global headquarters on green-belt land. The MPs said: "The thrust of the transport policy appears to be undermined by recent papers published or commissioned by the DTI and the Treasury."