Conservative Manifesto: 10 things the Tories are promising drivers

June 11, 2024 by

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The Conservative Party has revealed its manifesto ahead of the general election on July 4th. These are the top 10 promised policies we spotted for drivers and the motor industry.

  • ‘Plan for Drivers’ to make better use of bus lanes and cut box junction fines
  • £8.3 billion to fill potholes, fines for overrunning roadworks and poor repairs
  • Stopping road pricing, reversing the London ULEZ expansion
  • Votes to decide fate of 20mph zones and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
  • Road Investment Strategy to build and improve key routes
  • Automated vehicles on UK roads in the next Parliament
  • Promise to protect UK automotive industry from Chinese competition
  • Fly tippers to get penalty points on their driving licence
  • Universal car park payment app and pavement parking ban
  • No more ‘smart’ motorways and more lights for recovery crews

1. Plan for Drivers

The manifesto reiterates the pledges first made in the ‘Plan for Drivers’ back in October 2023. These aim to crack down on unfair traffic enforcement, make parking easier and streamline journeys with new technology for traffic lights.

This also includes reforms to make better use of bus lanes, adjusting the times when they are live and allowing motorcycles to use them at all times.

The Conservatives have also called for a ‘consistent approach’ to the enforcement of fines for drivers entering yellow box junctions. Part of this would involve restricting local authorities’ ability to generate profit from: “over-zealous use of traffic enforcement powers”.

2. £8.3 billion to fill potholes

The Conservatives say they will invest “a record £8.3 billion” to fill potholes and resurface roads in this financial year and the next, with the funding coming from the cancelled components of the HS2 rail project.

To prevent the roads from deteriorating so quickly in the first place, the party says it will increase the fines utility firms must pay when they create ‘street scars’ by not properly restoring roads and pavements after their works are completed. There will also be new penalties for overrunning works which involve blocking roads and creating bottlenecks.

See also
Labour Manifesto: 6 promises for drivers
Lib Dem Manifesto: 7 pledges for drivers

3. Reversing out of road pricing

The manifesto promises a Conservative government would introduce a “Backing Drivers Bill” that will prevent Mayors and local councils from introducing ‘pay per mile’ schemes. It also promises not to introduce these type of charges on a national basis.

The planned bill would also reverse the ULEZ expansion in London. The manifesto claims: “Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ tax rise only has a ‘moderate’ or ‘minor’ effect on pollution,” and “The expansion impacts thousands of people living around London who had no say in his election.”

4. Referendums for 20mph zones and LTNs

There’s no doubt that 20mph zones and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) are controversial. These aim to improve road safety in residential areas or outside schools by slowing down traffic or removing it altogether. But the manifesto claims these measures are being misused, which: “undermines public trust and risks congestion and pollution.” It says a Conservative government “will require any new schemes to be put to a referendum.”

Tories will challenge LTNs

Where there are already 20mph zones and LTNs in place, the party would introduce a ‘right to challenge’ them. This would also cover Wales, with the Conservatives saying they’d reverse the blanket 20mph speed limit imposed in built-up areas during September 2023.

5. Road Investment Strategy

After scrapping rules that they say currently stop Mayors from investing in strategic roads, a Conservative government would launch a Road Investment Strategy to start or complete some major building works.

The manifesto names them specifically too: in England there’s the Lower Thames Crossing between Essex and Kent, the A303 past Stonehenge in Wiltshire, and the A1 between Morpeth and Ellingham in Northumberland.

Wales would get funding to develop plans for a bypasses around Chepstow and Pant-Llanymynech, as well as wider improvements to the A55 and the A483 around Wrexham. The Conservatives would also promise to provide ‘matched funding’ to the Welsh Government “to reconsider the M4 relief road and third Menai crossing options”.

The only road scheme mentioned in Scotland is “guaranteed investment to improve pinch points on the A75” between Gretna and Stranraer.

6. Automated vehicles

Backing up an announcement made in May this year, the manifesto reiterates that self-driving vehicles could be on British roads by 2026, thanks to new “world-leading’ laws which will enable technology to take a turn at the wheel.

The Conservatives believe the new law “puts Great Britain firmly at the forefront of self-driving technology regulation, unlocking the potential of an industry estimated to be worth up to £42 billion and creating 38,000 more skilled jobs by 2035.”

7. Backing for the UK car industry

The manifesto describes the UK car industry as “the jewel of our manufacturing crown,” which built over a million vehicles and secured £23.7 billion of private and public investment.

To protect it, the Conservatives say: “We will always back our world-leading automotive industry, which faces unprecedented competition from China in the electric vehicles market. We stand ready to support domestic car manufacturers if there is evidence other countries are breaking global trade rules.”

This swipe refers to accusations that the Chinese government has been subsidising electric and electrified cars for export to the UK while placing restrictions and tariffs on British-built exports.

8. Penalty points for fly tipping

In an effort to stem the tide of illegal waste dumping, the Conservatives have promised to make it an offence that carries penalty points against your driving licence. Currently it is usually dealt with by using a fixed penalty notice, with a first offence attracting a £200 fine.

9. Parking payment plans

The manifesto promises a new National Parking Platform will be launched in the autumn of this year to simplify payments, so you’ll only need one app to pay in most car parks.

Reflecting what it says is feedback from older and disabled drivers, the manifesto also says they would give councils the power to ban pavement parking, “provided they engage with businesses and residents to ensure they are not adversely affected”.

10. No more smart motorways

The document contains two pledges to help with motorway safety. The first is a continued promise to prevent any new smart motorways being built, and to “invest in improving the safety of existing ones”.

Another small amendment to the law would allow red flashing lights for breakdown vehicles to make them more visible, helping to protect recovery drivers.

See also
Labour Manifesto: 6 promises for drivers
Lib Dem Manifesto: 7 pledges for drivers

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