London, 31 May 2002.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

ABD Hopes For A Sensible Approach From New Transport Secretary Alistair Darling
The Association of British Drivers guardedly welcomes the appointment of a new transport secretary just as the government appeared to have at last recognised what the Association of British Drivers have been saying for years.
Stephen Byers resigned only a few days after making one of the most common-sense statements on transport policy to come from this government when he said:
"What was needed was a better public transport system, so motorists would then have a real choice".
He went on to say that
"The reality is that cars will remain the mode of travel for most journeys for the foreseeable future"
and that
"It would be a mistake to ignore the fact that 80% of journeys are made by people in their cars."
Best of all, he stated that
"The government are not about to punish people who choose to travel by car".

The ABD trusts that nonsensical proposals for congestion charging and road tolling will now be binned for good together with all the other mooted anti-car proposals that have been threatening Britain's drivers for years. There are however grave concerns over Alistair Darling's history of leading a campaign against the Edinburgh relief road and support for road pricing.

ABD chairman Brian Gregory commented:

"We hope that Alistair Darling's appointment will represent the beginning of a new era of transport policy in the UK where investment in all forms of transport will give real choice in travel options and an end to the relentless and unnecessary persecution of those who choose to use what will always remain the most practical and efficient modes of transport for the vast majority of journeys - the car or motorcycle. We trust that he will honour Mr Byers committment not to punish those who choose to travel by these means."
Gregory added:
"As so many senior government officials making transport decisions don't even hold driving licences, it is good to see the appointment at last of a minister with a licence - although we appreciate this must be increasingly difficult with so many licences being lost to speed cameras."
The government would do well to remember that freedom of mobility is very dear to the hearts of many people in this country, and as important in many respects as freedom of speech or the right to vote. And people feel at the present moment that they are being completely overlooked in this respect.

Notes for Editors