9 December 1999

From Mr L. R. Christensen

Transport policies to 'turn the tide of congestion'

Sir, At last there are signs of progress towards a transport policy that supports the needs of the freight industry.

Two announcements, the Transport Bill and John Prescott's promise of substantial new transport investment (leading article, November 30), are real steps towards turning the tide
of congestion that is choking the economy and costing all of us some £20 billion a year.

On our small island, without the economies of scale in some continental countries, lorries will continue to play a major part in getting goods to the customer.

Investment to keep our roads in good condition and build bypasses is most welcome and now overdue. But more freight can and should go by rail and industry looks to the new Strategic Rail Authority set up by the Transport Bill to get the rail act together.

No road users will look forward to paying more in the form of congestion charges, and they are pointless anyway if alternatives do not exist. Therefore substantial new investment in public transport must be the right approach.

Congestion busting in our towns and cities also needs other planning actions and we are already working with many local authorities to find ways of delivering goods that do not
conflict with people and cars.

Yours etc,
(Logistics Director),
Safeway Stores plc,
6 Millington Road,
Hayes, Middlesex UB3 4AY.

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