Government urged to take ‘meaningful action’ on emissions

09.01 | 15 January 2019 | | 4 comments

The Government’s new Clean Air Strategy has been criticised for failing to provide any new funding or measures aimed at increasing levels of walking and cycling.

Published yesterday (14 January), the strategy sets out the Government’s ambition for 50%-70% of new cars to be ultra-low emission by 2030.

It also reaffirms the Government’s commitment to end the sale of conventional new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040.

Matt Hancock, health secretary, said: “We have made strides forward over the past few years and the action we are taking today will save lives and improve the health of the nation – both for those of us here today and for generations to come.”

The latest strategy follows two previous attempts to adopt policies to tackle air pollution in the UK, both of which were subject to successful legal challenges.

However, the walking and cycling charity Sustrans says the strategy fails to provide any new money or measures likely to achieve ‘a meaningful shift towards walking and cycling’.

Xavier Brice, CEO of Sustrans, said: “It is clear we need fewer, not just cleaner, vehicles on our roads to truly tackle poor air quality.

“We call again on the UK Government to take meaningful action on road transport emissions by investing more into high-quality cycling and walking infrastructure which allows families to cycle and walk to school and amenities with confidence so that it is the most obvious choice for shorter journeys.

‘Outdated’ policies ‘must urgently be modernised’
The Government’s new strategy comes days after an independent think tank (Localis) called for a ‘major rethink’ on the roll-out of electric vehicles.

The Localis report argues that outdated energy and infrastructure policies ‘must urgently be modernised’ if the Government is to meet its ‘ambitious targets’ for ensuring all new cars sold are zero-emission by 2040.

The report, published on 10 January, also says a rethink is needed to prevent millions missing out on benefits of electric vehicles.

Jonathan Werran, chief executive at Localis, said: “Without a change in regulation, behaviour and a wholesale transfer of powers for local energy policies, we risk a tale of two cities in our major urban centres – deepening levels of inequality between the prosperous and more deprived parts of town.”



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    I’m happy to see positive incentives to increase the amounts of walking & cycling. But I’m not willing to see motorists penalised so that the playing field is levelled. The last time I read their policies, Public Health England, Sustrans and a few ‘think-tanks’ and other campaigners were all recommending the latter as well as the former. Watch out for the small print.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (5) | Disagree (1)

    You’re right David, and that’s only for 1 person. For 2 people the car is the same cost but public transport is twice the cost.

    dave finney, Slough
    Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

    One thing that I had forgot to think about was advance tickets: using advance ticketing (two weeks or so in advance) brought the public transport cost down to approximately £50

    Then you need to work out how to get back from the railway station that is 30 miles from your house at 11pm at night…

    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

    I have done some price comparisons on how much it would cost to visit my friend in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a distance (by road) of 400 miles, round trip.

    When using HMRC’s 45p/mile figure, the effective cost is approx £180(!!)
    When using my actual expenditure (27p/mile), the effective cost is approx £108
    When using a combination of the bus, train, and metro the effective cost is approx £120

    The difference in time is insignificant, to the point where I would say it would take possibly the same amount of time.

    Now, public transport is slightly more expensive but I’d expect this given how the only real integration of ticketing systems is just PlusBus…

    However public transport is rather inconvenient once you’re carrying multiple pieces of luggage – especially large bulky items that are indivisible

    But at that point, I might as well just become exasperated about comparisons and just jump in the car anyway

    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

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