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Eddington: planning reform a key to success

NEWS

THE 366-PAGE report by former British Airways chief executive Sir Rod Eddington, commissioned by chancellor Gordon Brown, outlines a series of measures to improve transport infrastructure.

Sir Rod called on the Government to:

speed up the planning system for transport projects

consider a road pricing scheme, which could bring £28 billion a year by 2025 into Government coffers

focus on upgrading infrastructure instead of major new projects or face spiralling congestion costing the UK economy an estimated £22 billion

reform the planning process, which at present involves 'unacceptable costs, uncertainty and delays'

set up a new independent planning commission to take decisions on projects of strategic importance

make progress on the London Crossrail scheme. But Sir Rod was less keen on other proposed high-speed lines such as a London to Scotland fast link.

Sir Rod added that British transport policy over the next 20 years should focus on congested and growing city catchments, key 'interurban' corridors, and key international gateways that are showing signs of increasing congestion and unreliability.

He said: 'To meet its economic goals for transport, Government should prioritise action on those parts of the system where networks are critical in supporting economic growth, and there are clear signals that these networks are not performing.'

Sir Rod said investing huge amounts of money in landmark transport projects would not be a waste of resources.

He added that Government should work more with the private sector on delivering transport investment, with increased emphasis on further PFI and PPP work.

Sir Rod said: 'The Government's role should be to deliver sustained and targeted infrastructure investment, in those schemes which demonstrate high returns, including smaller schemes tackling pinch points.'