Today, the Greener Transport Council, along with its 17 members, has published a manifesto for decarbonising transport, in which this leading group of transport professionals are calling for a national focus on behaviour change to achieve a substantial road traffic reduction over the next eight years.
The manifesto pulls no punches in making clear that the actions needed this decade to decarbonise transport are stark and require national leadership.
While the manifesto welcomes the July 2021 Transport Decarbonisation Plan as a necessary first step, it goes on to state that urgent attention must now be given to reducing the volume of traffic on our roads and that 60% of the decarbonisation task for transport needs to be done in the next decade if we are to be on track for the net zero target.
In the development of A Manifesto for Decarbonising Transport, Greener Transport Solutions conducted extensive research which concludes that achieving the carbon reduction targets will require:
- Traffic reduction in addition to the roll out of zero emissions vehicles
- A complete reform of motoring taxation as we transition from petrol and diesel vehicles
- A credible national programme for delivering behaviour change.
The actions we take in this decade are arguably the most important in human history. We must act quickly and decisively. We urge the Government to complement the roll out of clean vehicle technologies with a national focus on behaviour change.
Claire Haigh (Chair), Founder & CEO of Greener Transport Solutions, said in a released statement: “We are a group of leading professionals in the transport and planning sectors who together support the UK Government’s commitment to decarbonising our economy while sharing a deep concern that much greater urgency and action is needed to address the challenge society faces. Our focus is upon what we believe the Government must do if we are to decarbonise transport at the rate necessary.
“We start by acknowledging the scale of the challenge. Climate scientists are shocked by the accelerating rate of changes. The August 2021 IPCC report has been described as a ‘code red for humanity’. We are seeing severe weather impacts in areas not previously thought of as high risk.
“Special responsibility rests on UK shoulders. As hosts of the COP26 UN Climate Summit we are well positioned to demonstrate strong policies and to show leadership. Transport is the biggest emitting sector of the UK economy and the fastest growing source of global greenhouse gas emissions. We must have a credible delivery plan for decarbonising our transport system.”
A recent survey of Transport Times readers, undertaken by Greener Transport Solutions, and conducted between 17th August and 15th September 2021, asked them what it would take to decarbonise transport:
- 92% agreed that the need for travel should be reduced by investing in digital connectivity, alongside sustainable transport, with 64% strongly agreeing
- 89% agreed that the UK Government should commit and put in place policies to ensure a reduction in car kilometres travelled of 20% by 2030, with 71% strongly agreeing
- 85% identified that the £40bn blackhole from the demise of Fuel Duty and Vehicle Excise Duty revenues made alternative funding through road pricing ‘inevitable’. 59% strongly agree with this and only 3% strongly disagree
- 89% believe it would not be possible for local authorities to achieve their climate goals without clarity on how car users will pay for transport as we shift away from petrol and diesel cars, with 63% strongly agreeing
- 81% believe that a national road charging scheme is the only way to manage road mileage demand with over half (53%) strongly agreeing.