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Press Release

 West Midlands Local Transport Plan

17 August 2007 


Following the publication of the West Midlands’ Metropolitan Authorities’ Transport Investment Plan, Lynne Jones sent the following letter to Stella Manzie CBE, Transport Co-Lead Chief Executive of the West Midlands Metropolitan Districts Group and Chief Executive of Coventry City Council, condemning the lack of leadership in the plan:


Stella Manzie CBE
Chief Executive, Coventry City Council
The Council House
Earl Street Coventry

17 August 2007

Dear Ms Manzie,

Thank you for sending me a copy of the West Midlands’ Metropolitan Authorities’ Transport Investment Plan. I am pleased at the relatively high priority now being given to the re-opening of the Camp Hill line, which I have been calling for over many years, and also the high priority (though low expenditure) being given to "high quality" walking and cycling linkages to the transport interchanges.

I should be grateful if you could provide me with further details of the proposed cycling linkages, and what the definition is of "high quality". Will there be any "standard quality" cycling measures, and what is the policy to be on the transportation of bicycles on trains and trams? If you were being innovative as you claim, you would surely be bringing forward imaginative proposals to massively increase cycling, which is the quickest way of travelling in to and out of city and town centres at busy times. There is no mention, for example, of a bike rental scheme such as that pioneered by Birmingham’s Twin City, Lyon.

Overall, I find the document disappointing in that it is repetitive and difficult to read. Your so called "common-sense" approach simply puts off the most important issue – the need to develop congestion charging/road pricing in order to pay for the investment needed. My recollection is that the "Gridlock or Growth" study, financed from the Government Transport Innovation Fund, spelled out quite clearly that road pricing would be the only really effective measure to discourage unnecessary road journeys and actually prevent otherwise inevitable increases in congestion.

Yet, in your covering letter, you refer to "ongoing work", and "new evidence" on assessing the potential of road pricing. Please send me details of this ongoing work, the budget provision and source of finance for the work and when it is expected to be completed. It seems to me you are merely prevaricating over this issue. Those who claim to be leaders should surely show some leadership, as Ken Livingstone has done in London. Is the West Midlands to again lag behind, letting Greater Manchester steal the lead?

Yours sincerely,




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