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Development of affordable tramways

Comment 5th August 2010
 

 

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 Change the laws regarding Tramway development

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Why does this matter?

It is important to reduce time and costs to improve the quality of urban transport and to safeguard our transport from overseas control and future proofing our cities & towns

UK Laws hinder the developement of affordable low cost tramways. People have complained about the problems in constructing tramways in the UK, comparing the process adversely with France and other countries.  Some of the restrictions that impact on tramways, and contribute to delays and/or excessive costs, may possibly be:

 
1.    Requirements for excessively lengthy public hearings – indeed, is there any reasonable need for a public hearing if a municipality (or other authority having responsibility for public transport – eg, Boris) desires to construct a tramway on a public road?   Is there any need for a public hearing for construction of a tramway off a public road if sale or long lease of the relevant land is achievable by agreement rather than compulsory purchase?  Is there a need for a public hearing if a private company enters into an agreement with a road authority to construct a tramway on a public road?
 
2.    Requirements that the tramway authority should pay an excessive cost of the relocation of utilities.  Surely this, rather than a flat rate, should be more on a sliding scale.  If the utility was constructed (laid down, buried, whatever) in the 12 months (ie, less than one year) prior to commencement of the construction of the tramway in that road, the tramway pays 100% of the cost of relocation.  If the utility was constructed 100 years or more prior to commencement of the tramway work the tramway pays nothing.  And for any year in between the percentage decreases linearly from 100% to 0% if at all
 
3.    Requirements that local authorities may not spend authority money on tramways without Treasury approval, and restrictions on the borrowing power for local authorities for investment in tramways.
 
4.    Restrictions on local authorities operating congestion taxes, or setting tolls on roads.  
5.    Restrictions requiring developers to provide parking spaces – provision should be up to the developer – and where there is a building already constructed, requirements for space to be provided for car parking should be removed.
 
6.    Requirements for tramway authorities to provide a road surface between and to a specified distance outside the outer rails should be removed – to be replaced by a requirement for the local road authority and the tramway authority to agree as to which authority is to provide the surface, to what standard, and for the road authority to pay in part for the initial construction of the surface (shared cost based on the age of the road surface – brand new the trams pay, greater than the scheduled life of the surface the road authority pays), and its periodic replacement, but the tramway authority to pay for all repairs to the surface if such are needed due to maintenance of the tram track, if the road surface is to be used by vehicles other than trams.  (I presume that this condition from the 1870 Tramways Act still exists?)
 
7.    Prohibition on tram track being less than 8 ft from the kerb in front of a plot without the landowner's consent to be removed. (If not already done so.)
 
8.    Remember the Sheffield case re "absolutely level" not "reasonably level" tram tracks and road surface.  I think that this was to be fixed – has it? 
 
I think that all of the above could be removed, or modified to make the construction of tramways cheaper and easier.
 
I am sure that there may be other restrictions which have hampered the construction and operation of tramways.  
 
 
 
 

 

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