HC Deb 07 March 2000 vol 345 cc593-4W
30. Mr. Ian Stewart

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on light rail services. [112202]

Mr. Hill

Light rail, and similar rapid transit systems, can have an important role to play in delivering integrated transport in major conurbations. Experience from existing light rail schemes has shown that they can be effective in providing a high quality public transport option in densely used transport corridors and in encouraging motorists to switch from their cars. However, the capital costs of light rail schemes are high compared with bus priority measures and guided bus schemes, which may offer a more cost-effective alternative. Central Government support can be provided to local authorities to fund light rail systems where these bring net benefits which are greater than those offered by the available alternatives; cannot be entirely funded from local sources or by the private sector; provide good value for money and are essential to the achievement of the objectives of the relevant authority's local transport plan.