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Traffic numbers soar

PUBLISHED: 13:46 22 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:29 05 July 2010

TRAFFIC on Suffolk's roads has soared 11% over the past decade, new figures have revealed.

The increase has sparked concern among Liberal Democrat campaigners in Suffolk who last night accused the Government of breaking promises made to cut car use.

TRAFFIC on Suffolk's roads has soared 11% over the past decade, new figures have revealed.

The increase has sparked concern among Liberal Democrat campaigners in Suffolk who last night accused the Government of breaking promises made to cut car use.

Figures released by the Government following a parliamentary question show the number of vehicles using Suffolk's roads has increased by 11% since 1997.

But the rise is lower than Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex which saw increases of 15%, 12% and 12% respectively.

Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for roads and transport, said the council was not sitting back on the issue and had already introduced measures to tackle congestion.

“Suffolk County Council, with the Port of Felixstowe, has recognised the increase in movement of HGVs through the county and has a lorry management policy in place which is currently being examined by a policy management panel of councillors and we will up date this almost certainly as a result of receiving their report,” he said.

“We recognise it, it's plaintively obvious, and we are not sitting back on this.”

Andrew Houseley, Liberal Democrat spokesman for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said the figures showed a “worrying” increase in the amount of traffic on the county's roads.

“Eleven percent is a massive rise and the daily misery faced by residents, families and businesses is plain for all to see,” he said.

“The reality of the situation is that travelling by public transport is now more expensive but relatively speaking, the cost of travelling by car has fallen.

“When Labour came to power in 1997, John Prescott, who was then Deputy Prime Minister, said, 'I will have failed if in five years' time if there are not many more people using public transport and far fewer journeys by car. It's a tall order but I urge you to hold me to it.'

“The rise in traffic in Suffolk and across England generally is a huge failure by the Government who promised so much but have delivered more congestion, pollution and more expensive buses and trains.”

He added: “The Government needs to look seriously at how to provide better buses and trains at an affordable price before Suffolk grinds to a halt.”

Mr Houseley said Liberal Democrats would be pressing the Government to improve bus services.

The Department for Transport was contacted yesterday, but no-one was available to comment.

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