FIGURES uncovered by the Liberal Democrats in Parliament show that over the past decade, the number of vehicles on roads in Tyne and Wear have increased by 10%.
It means that congestion on local roads has gone up since Labour came to power in 1997, despite promises to reduce the number of people relying on cars to get about.
Councillor Peter Maughan, Liberal Democrat campaigner in Blaydon Constituency, said, “These figures show a worrying increase in the amount of traffic on roads in Tyne and Wear. 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 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 Tyne and Wear and across England generally is clearly a huge failure by the Government who promised so much but have delivered more congestion, pollution and more expensive buses and trains.
“The Government needs to look seriously at how to provide better buses and Metro at an affordable price before Tyne and Wear grinds to a halt.
“A Transport Bill is now being debated by Parliament and there are a number of plans in it that will give powers to councils to improve bus services. This is a welcome move but it is a pity that Labour have taken over a decade to get this far.
“Yet even now there is a danger that the powers to improve bus services will be watered down by the Government. Liberal Democrats will be pressing the Government hard to make sure this doesn’t happen.”