Conservative Manifesto: Tories back drivers and devolution

13/06/2024
Chris Ames

The Conservative manifesto pledges to scrap ‘rules that stop Mayors investing in strategic roads’ as part of wider plans to invest in the 'digital, transport and energy infrastructure needed for businesses to grow'.

In its manifesto, launched at the Silverstone motor racing track, the Tories pledged to ‘back drivers by stopping road pricing, reversing the London Mayor’s ULEZ expansion and applying local referendums to new 20mph zones and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’.

The document states: ‘We will scrap rules that stop Mayors investing in strategic roads,’ adding that there will be ‘further investment to come in the next Road Investment Strategy, ensuring we can deliver major roads including the Lower Thames Crossing and the A303’.

Controversially, the manifesto states that a Conservative Government would expand its Backing Drivers’ Bill to cover Wales, 'reversing Labour’s blanket 20mph speed limit by requiring local consent for 20mph zones and giving local communities the legal right to challenge existing zones’.

The Welsh Government is responsible for roads in the devolved nation and the Welsh Assembly's 20mph policy operates by default on restricted roads - primarily residential routes - rather than a blanket ban. Local authorities have the power to make exemptions. 

On rail, the manifesto pledges that the Tories would ‘deliver our plan for Northern Powerhouse Rail’ and ‘improve accessibility at 100 train stations starting with the 50 stations announced in May’.

On funding, the document repeats existing pledges to invest £36bn 'in local roads, rail and buses to drive regional growth, including £8.3bn to fill potholes and resurface roads, funded by cancelling the second phase of HS2’.

It also commits a new Conservative government to make sure that local authorities use the new Infrastructure Levy to deliver the GP surgeries, roads and other local infrastructure needed to support homes.

The manifesto adds: ‘We will support the growth and decarbonisation of our aviation [and] back our maritime sector, including shipping and ports, as it decarbonises’.

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