The Campaign for Better Transport, with local activists’ help, has enjoyed two major successes recently.
First they persuaded the government against building the £31m Westbury bypass in Wiltshire, and the Welsh Assembly against rerouting the M4 across the Gwent Levels near Newport.
Then, in July they demonstrated the power of online mass protest. The Government apparently took notice of the concerns of hundreds of CBT website’s readers about the potential locations of certain eco-towns. July’s announcement of new eco-towns included none of the sites readers were most concerned about.
A coalition of national experts and local campaigners, the Campaign for Better Transport has been going since 1973. Their campaigns focus on improving public transport, reducing traffic and reducing carbon emissions in the transport sector through high-level lobbying and strong public campaigning.
Right now, the big focus is on trains.
If the rail system is to become a viable alternative to the car, it needs leadership and support from the Government in order to pull the hundreds of companies involved in railways together.
Although the Government recently published a draft 30-year strategy for improvements, promising good initiatives and funding, convincing results are yet to be seen. The Campaign argues action is needed now to make rail travel cheaper, easier, less crowded and more environmentally friendly.
Even halting continual fare increases would help, it says, and the government should fulfil the promises of its 2007 Rail White Paper as soon as possible.
The Campaign wants political parties to commit in their election manifestos to improving Britain’s rail network - and it needs your help.
The Campaign is also insisting on a reduction in bus and rail fares. They point out that increasing motoring and aviation taxes could lead to a 13 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2025.
Election manifestos are being drafted now. Help push the government to speed up its act by writing to the heads of Transport for each major political party. By filling in this simple form, you can have your say in the party manifestos that will shape the next election.
To find out more, have your say and get involved visit www.bettertransport.org.uk
Train travel: the return of the journey
Rail travel is the cheaper, greener, more comfortable way to go, so ditch your flight plan in favour of a fast train to the world. Laura Sevier learns more from rail aficionado the man in Seat 61