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Car Journeys

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 18th March 2010.

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Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons) 10:30 am, 18th March 2010

What estimate he has made of the number of miles travelled by cars on roads in England in (a) 1997 and (b) 2009.

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Photo of Paul Clark Paul Clark Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport

In 1997, cars travelled an estimated 195.9 billion miles on roads in England. This rose to 214.2 billion miles in 2008. Figures for traffic on roads in England in 2009 will be published in July 2010.

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Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons)

May I take the Minister back to 6 June 1997 when the then Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Transport, in an interview with The Guardian, said:

"I will have failed in this if in five years there are not...far fewer journeys by car. It is a tall order but I want you to hold me to it"?

I know that Mr. Prescott has moved on, but I wonder if I might hold the Government to it, and ask the Minister, first, what he will do about it, and, secondly, why would anybody believe anything that any Labour Minister says after this?

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Photo of Paul Clark Paul Clark Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport

There is a very simple answer to that. The proof has been in the delivery in terms of investing in our infrastructure, across railways and roads. It is a result of having a substantially buoyant economy, with 2.5 million more people in jobs. The number of households with more than two cars today is 32 per cent., which is more than the households with no car, which is 25 per cent. The investment in our roads is a result of the buoyant economy that we have had. Our record in terms of increased use of buses, trains and road, which my right hon. Friend the Minister of State has just mentioned, recognises what a successful economy we have run.

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