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Conservative manifesto pledges £8.3 billion to combat potholes and to pull a U-turn on Ultra Low Emission Zone extension plans

Rishi Sunak plans to “back drivers” by making journeys smoother and cutting costs for motorists.

General Election campaign 2024

The Conservative Party has unveiled its manifesto for the upcoming General Election, with current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak addressing a crowd of reporters at the Silverstone race circuit.

In the run up to the General Election on July 4, the Conservative Party has vowed to “back drivers” with a series of policies aimed to reduce the burden on today’s motorists.

Part of today’s manifesto focusses on reversing the London Mayor’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion and “applying local referendums to new 20mph zones and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods,” according to a summary of the Tory manifesto.

Alongside bold plans to introduce a new legal cap on immigration and a 2p cut in National Insurance Contributions, Sunak announced that his party would create a dedicated £8.3 billion fund to “fill potholes and resurface roads”.

This is part of a wider £36 billion investment in “local roads, rail and buses to drive regional growth,” which has been made possible by cancelling the second phase of HS2.

The 76-page document highlighted the party’s “Backing Drivers Bill”, which the Tories promised to introduce in its first King’s Speech. The bill would ensure pay-per-mile road pricing wasn’t introduced anywhere and would ban Mayors and local councils from doing so.

It would also reverse “Labour’s unfair ULEZ expansion in London”, as well as rule out top-down blanket Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and 20mph zones. Any new schemes would have to be put to a referendum.

Earlier this year, the Government also announced that it would aim to drive down fuel prices by introducing a PumpWatch scheme that would see all fuel stations across the country legally required to share real-time price information with an appointed organisation.

The Tories stated that making the data available to drives could save them 3p per litre of fuel, as well as forcing retailers to be more transparent about how much they are charging on their forecourts.

Despite bold pledges on the ULEZ and reducing the number of 20mph speed limits, there was little mention of zero emissions vehicles, with only the loose promise of supporting people to choose electric cars by “ensuring our charging infrastructure is truly nationwide, including rapid charging and delivering the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate to support manufacturers to safeguard skilled British jobs”.

Last year, the Conservative Party announced its Plan for Drivers, which included opening up bus lanes to motorists when not in use and making it legal for all motorcycles to use bus lanes, a £30 million fund to upgrade traffic signal systems, replacing unreliable and obsolete equipment to improve reliability, as well as increasing fixed penalty notices to utility companies whose roadworks overrun to avoid unnecessary congestion.

There is no mention of these policies within the recently published manifesto, nor is there an indication on how much they would cost to implement.

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