New transport minister to "end war on motorists"
Philip Hammond, the new transport minister has said he will end Labour's "war on motorists" as he looks to clamp down on speed cameras, clamping firms and plans for road-charging.
The Tory cabinet member has only just got his new job, but has already pledged to ease the pressure on the nation's 33m drivers, saying: "Motoring has got to get greener, but the car is not going to go away."
Hammond has confirmed that the coalition government will stick by the Tories pre-election promise to halt funding to fixed-position speed cameras. Councils will be able to fund the cameras if they so wish, but any money earned would go to the Treasury, he said. This means more councils may follow Swindon's lead, and scrap the cameras.
In more good news for motorists, Hammond has also pledged to get tough on unlicensed clamping firms, and ruled out the introduction of road charging plans – something the Lib Dems had been in favour of.
Hammond did say that new roads may be subjected to tolls, but promised that existing roads won't get charged for in the style of European motorways.
AA president Edmund King has welcomed the comments, but has remained cautious, saying: "While the transport secretary's comments are welcome, I am worried that cutting back on road expenditure will leave drivers facing more congestion and more potholes."
King also called for a fixed term for the position of transport secretary, pointing out that we have had 13 different holders of the job over the last 22 years, with each one serving an average of 20 months in the role.
"If we are having a fixed-term government, why can't we have a fixed-term transport secretary who can get to grips with the brief?"