Reaction to Transport in Queen's Speech

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Industry figures comment transport within the Queen's Speech below. 

Ed Cox, Director, IPPR

In good times, the spectacle of pomp and circumstance surrounding the Queen's Speech may offer tradition and a sense of our past. In tough times though, and given the weak and wobbly weeks of late, it doesn't do much to showcase Britain as a modern and outward country.

Most anachronistic of all though is the horse-trading deals being done on vital infrastructure, as though necessary and long-term projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail and Crossrail 2 are sweeties to be traded in order for more support.

To bring us in line with most advanced economies, our approach to infrastructure must change, with a much more long-term view.

For instance, perhaps due to a focus on deal with the North of Ireland rather than the North of England, there can be no doubt that the Queen's Speech offers little in the way of getting spades in the ground anytime soon on key northern infrastructure.

In this regards, it's vital that we see Transport for the North taking on status as England's first sub-national transport body in the autumn, with similar deals across other English regions.

It is in this sense that we will go to addressing the concerns that lay behind the Brexit vote that got us into this mess.

Andrew Allen, Policy Analyst, Campaign for Better Transport

The 2017 Queen's Speech is rightly regarded as the Brexit Queen's Speech, but HS2, electric cars and the industrial strategy mean there's a lot of transport related stuff to get your teeth into, too.

The big question is how the General Election outcome affects things. Since 2010, transport has often been about piling up capital projects like big new roads and HS2 while cutting back harshly on the revenue spend such as support for buses and sustainable transport initiatives. With the loss of the Government's majority, there is pressure for a new tack which gives more importance to good public services and helping all sections of society.

Tackling the filthy air many people are forced to breathe is a good place to start. There should be no backsliding in transferring EU air quality rules into UK law. The transport and housing elements of the industrial strategy must bring transport and land-use planning much closer together so they strengthen the economy and help create good places to live.

Finally, the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill must offer a path not just to cleaner air but to reducing carbon emissions from transport in line with the commitments we made in Paris. 

Steve Gooding, Director, RAC Foundation 

After the outcome of the election and general angst about Brexit it came as no surprise that the Queen's speech was a bit thinner than we might have hoped on the transport front – still no commitment, for example, to put the Road Fund on a full statutory footing. We note the Government's enthusiasm to 'attract investment in infrastructure', but when it comes to roads, for the time being at least, the public purse really is the only game in town so we'll be listening carefully to what Chancellor Hammond has to say about this.

Amongst the manifesto pledges notable by their absence, we and millions of drivers will be particularly disappointed by the lack of any mention of much-needed controls on private parking. Meantime we note that the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill is dead, replaced phoenix-like by the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, with provisions to encourage the take up of electric cars and tackle the insurance issue for autonomous vehicles, both sensible and welcome, if modest, first steps in the right direction.

As for tackling bogus whiplash claims, frankly anything that helps damp the soaring cost of motor insurance is good news, particularly for young drivers who are being hit disproportionately by the hike in insurance premium tax.