Magazine article Public Finance

Green Transport in Danger of Cuts

Magazine article Public Finance

Green Transport in Danger of Cuts

Article excerpt

Plans for environmentally friendly light rail schemes are likely to be shelved in the forthcoming emergency Budget because they are considered unaffordable, Public Finance has been told.

Will McWilliams, transport partner at accountants Grant Thornton, said light rail schemes were more expensive to set up in the UK than in Europe because of higher utility and development costs.

McWilliams added that cost factors were likely to override other concerns across the spectrum of transport policy. Affordability is the watchword across all projects.' he said.

'Environmental factors, die wider impact on the economy and the effect on passengers are all going to be secondary to costs,' he added.

Dave Powell, campaign manager at environmental charity Friends of die Earth, said such an approach would be short-sighted.

He acknowledged that the short-term costs of low-carbon public transport schemes were high. But he warned that spending money on new roads and airports would become 'huge white elephants and a massive millstone ai'ound the government's neck' because of environmental costs in future years.

'If you need to find some money, getting rid of some of the roads budget is certainly me way to go. …

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