Shades of grey in Prescott's "new dawn" for transport

The long-awaited White Paper on transport arrived in July to a cautious welcome from environmental groups and business organisations. Local authorities will be able to introduce congestion charging or taxes on workplace parking and invest the revenues in public transport - marking a rare break in the Treasury's opposition to hypothecation. The Government has pledged a range of other measures to boost public transport, backed by a substantial injection of public funds and a major pruning of the road building programme. But environmental groups have criticised the Government for failing to set national targets for traffic and excluding out-of-town shopping centres from parking taxes. The policies in the White Paper may also not deliver reductions in carbon dioxide emissions on the scale needed to meet the Government's target.

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